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Physicochemical foundations and structural design of hydrogels in medicine and biology.

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Program on Therapeutic and Diagnostic Devices, Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratories, School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-1283, USA.


Hydrogels are cross-linked hydrophilic polymers that can imbibe water or biological fluids. Their biomedical and pharmaceutical applications include a very wide range of systems and processes that utilize several molecular design characteristics. This review discusses the molecular structure, dynamic behavior, and structural modifications of hydrogels as well as the various applications of these biohydrogels. Recent advances in the preparation of three-dimensional structures with exact chain conformations, as well as tethering of functional groups, allow for the preparation of promising new hydrogels. Meanwhile, intelligent biohydrogels with pH- or temperature-sensitivity continue to be important materials in medical applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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