Hydrogels are highly hydrated materials that may absorb from 10% to 20% up to hundreds of times their dry weight in water and are composed of three-dimensional hydrophilic polymeric networks that are similar to those in natural tissue. The structural integrity of hydrogels depends on cross-links formed between the polymer chains. Hydrogels have been extensively explored as injectable cell delivery systems, owing to their high tissue-like water content, ability to mimic extracellular matrix, homogeneously encapsulated cells, efficient mass transfer, amenability to chemical and physical modifications, and minimally invasive delivery. A variety of naturally and synthetically derived materials have been used to form injectable hydrogels for tissue engineering applications. The current review article focuses on these biomaterials, on the design parameters of injectable scaffolds, and on the in situ gelling of their hydrogel systems. The last section of this article describes specific examples of catheter-based delivery systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- !!General Chemical Engineering