ABSTRACT: Nowadays there are at present no efficient therapies for spinal cord injury (SCI), and new approaches have to be proposed. Recently, a new regenerative medicine strategy has been suggested using smart biomaterials able to carry and deliver cells and/or drugs in the damaged spinal cord. Among the wide field of emerging materials, research has been focused on hydrogels, three-dimensional polymeric networks able to swell and absorb a large amount of water. The present paper intends to give an overview of a wide range of natural, synthetic, and composite hydrogels with particular efforts for the ones studied in the last five years. Here, different hydrogel applications are underlined, together with their different nature, in order to have a clearer view of what is happening in one of the most sparkling fields of regenerative medicine.
ACS Chemical Neuroscience 07/2011; 2(7):336-45. · 3.68 Impact Factor