We highlight recent developments in hydrogel materials with biological responsiveness built in. These ‘smart’ biomaterials change properties in response to selective biological recognition events. When exposed to a biological target (nutrient, growth factor, receptor, antibody, enzyme, or whole cell), molecular recognition events trigger changes in molecular interactions that translate into macroscopic responses, such as swelling/collapse or solution-to-gel transitions. The hydrogel transitions may be used directly as optical readouts for biosensing, linked to the release of actives for drug delivery, or instigate biochemical signaling events that control or direct cellular behavior. Accordingly, bioresponsive hydrogels have gained significant interest for application in diagnostics, drug delivery, and tissue regeneration/wound healing.

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(07)70049-4