Biocompatible materials are of considerable interest in the development of cell/drug delivery carriers for therapeutic applications. This paper investigates the effects of the Bloom index of gelatin on its interaction with retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. Following two days of culture of ARPE-19 cells with gelatin samples G75-100, G175, and G300, the in vitro
biocompatibility was determined by cell proliferation and viability assays, and glutamate uptake measurements, as well as cytokine expression analyses. The mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity in the G300 groups was significantly lower than that of G75-100 and G175 groups. The Live/Dead assays also showed that the gelatin samples G300 induced mild cytotoxicity. In comparison with the treatment of gelatins with low Bloom index, the exposure to high Bloom strength gelatins markedly reduced the glutamate uptake capacity of ARPE-19 cells. One possible explanation for these observations is that the presence of gelatin samples G300 with high viscosity in the medium may affect the nutrient availability to cultured cells. The analyses of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 expression at both mRNA and protein levels showed that the gelatins with low Bloom index caused less cellular inflammatory reaction and had more acceptable biocompatibility than their high Bloom strength counterparts. These findings suggest that the Bloom index gives influence on cellular responses to gelatin materials.