The field of regenerative medicine has tremendous potential for improved treatment outcomes and has been stimulated by advances made in bioengineering over the last few decades. The strategies of engineering tissues and assembling functional constructs that are capable of restoring, retaining, and revitalizing lost tissues and organs have impacted the whole spectrum of medicine and health care. Techniques to combine biomimetic materials, cells, and bioactive molecules play a decisive role in promoting the regeneration of damaged tissues or as therapeutic systems. Hydrogels have been used as one of the most common tissue engineering scaffolds over the past two decades due to their ability to maintain a distinct 3D structure, to provide mechanical support for the cells in the engineered tissues, and to simulate the native extracellular matrix. The high water content of hydrogels can provide an ideal environment for cell survival, and structure which mimics the native tissues. Hydrogel systems have been serving as a supportive matrix for cell immobilization and growth factor delivery. This review outlines a brief description of the properties, structure, synthesis and fabrication methods, applications, and future perspectives of smart hydrogels in tissue engineering.
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