Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
About: Gels is an academic journal published by Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Medicine & Materials science. It has an ISSN identifier of 2310-2861. It is also open access. Over the lifetime, 1868 publications have been published receiving 12488 citations.
TL;DR: Advantages of the hydrogels that overcome the limitations from other types of biomaterials will be discussed, and attention will be given to biomedical applications of different kinds of hydrogel including cell culture, self-healing, and drug delivery.
Abstract: Hydrogels are hydrophilic, three-dimensional networks that are able to absorb large quantities of water or biological fluids, and thus have the potential to be used as prime candidates for biosensors, drug delivery vectors, and carriers or matrices for cells in tissue engineering. In this critical review article, advantages of the hydrogels that overcome the limitations from other types of biomaterials will be discussed. Hydrogels, depending on their chemical composition, are responsive to various stimuli including heating, pH, light, and chemicals. Two swelling mechanisms will be discussed to give a detailed understanding of how the structure parameters affect swelling properties, followed by the gelation mechanism and mesh size calculation. Hydrogels prepared from natural materials such as polysaccharides and polypeptides, along with different types of synthetic hydrogels from the recent reported literature, will be discussed in detail. Finally, attention will be given to biomedical applications of different kinds of hydrogels including cell culture, self-healing, and drug delivery.
TL;DR: The innate ability of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) thermo-responsive hydrogel to copolymerize and to graft synthetic polymers and biomolecules have expedited the widespread number of papers published in the last decade—especially in the biomedical field.
Abstract: The innate ability of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) thermo-responsive hydrogel to copolymerize and to graft synthetic polymers and biomolecules, in conjunction with the highly controlled methods of radical polymerization which are now available, have expedited the widespread number of papers published in the last decade-especially in the biomedical field. Therefore, PNIPAAm-based hydrogels are extensively investigated for applications on the controlled delivery of active molecules, in self-healing materials, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, or in the smart encapsulation of cells. The most promising polymers for biodegradability enhancement of PNIPAAm hydrogels are probably poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and/or poly(e-caprolactone) (PCL), whereas the biocompatibility is mostly achieved with biopolymers. Ultimately, advances in three-dimensional bioprinting technology would contribute to the design of new devices and medical tools with thermal stimuli response needs, fabricated with PNIPAAm hydrogels.
TL;DR: In this review, the importance of water in hydrogel (HG) properties and structure is analyzed and a variety of methods such as 1H NMR, DSC, and XRD (X-ray powder diffraction) are used to study water in HG.
Abstract: In this review, the importance of water in hydrogel (HG) properties and structure is analyzed. A variety of methods such as ¹H NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), DSC (differential scanning calorimetry), XRD (X-ray powder diffraction), dielectric relaxation spectroscopy, thermally stimulated depolarization current, quasi-elastic neutron scattering, rheometry, diffusion, adsorption, infrared spectroscopy are used to study water in HG. The state of HG water is rather non-uniform. According to thermodynamic features of water in HG, some of it is non-freezing and strongly bound, another fraction is freezing and weakly bound, and the third fraction is non-bound, free water freezing at 0 °C. According to structural features of water in HG, it can be divided into two fractions with strongly associated and weakly associated waters. The properties of the water in HG depend also on the amounts and types of solutes, pH, salinity, structural features of HG functionalities.
TL;DR: The use of micro- and nanogels for drug delivery applications is discussed, as well as the high potential of protein-based hydrogels in the production of bioactive matrices with recognition ability (molecular imprinting) and the development of 3D bioprinting technologies.
Abstract: Hydrogels based on polysaccharide and protein natural polymers are of great interest in biomedical applications and more specifically for tissue regeneration and drug delivery. Cellulose, chitosan (a chitin derivative), and collagen are probably the most important components since they are the most abundant natural polymers on earth (cellulose and chitin) and in the human body (collagen). Peptides also merit attention because their self-assembling properties mimic the proteins that are present in the extracellular matrix. The present review is mainly focused on explaining the recent advances on hydrogels derived from the indicated polymers or their combinations. Attention has also been paid to the development of hydrogels for innovative biomedical uses. Therefore, smart materials displaying stimuli responsiveness and having shape memory properties are considered. The use of micro- and nanogels for drug delivery applications is also discussed, as well as the high potential of protein-based hydrogels in the production of bioactive matrices with recognition ability (molecular imprinting). Finally, mention is also given to the development of 3D bioprinting technologies.
TL;DR: A new generation of functional stimuli-responsive polymer hydrogels able to self-shape (shape-memory) and/or self-repair is focused on, which could be considered as the closing loop for smart polymeric gels.
Abstract: One strategy that has gained much attention in the last decades is the understanding and further mimicking of structures and behaviours found in nature, as inspiration to develop materials with additional functionalities. This review presents recent advances in stimuli-responsive gels with emphasis on functional hydrogels and microgels. The first part of the review highlights the high impact of stimuli-responsive hydrogels in materials science. From macro to micro scale, the review also collects the most recent studies on the preparation of hybrid polymeric microgels composed of a nanoparticle (able to respond to external stimuli), encapsulated or grown into a stimuli-responsive matrix (microgel). This combination gave rise to interesting multi-responsive functional microgels and paved a new path for the preparation of multi-stimuli “smart” systems. Finally, special attention is focused on a new generation of functional stimuli-responsive polymer hydrogels able to self-shape (shape-memory) and/or self-repair. This last functionality could be considered as the closing loop for smart polymeric gels.