Engineered hydrogel-based matrices for skin wound healing
Hydrogels, due to their hygroscopic nature, have been widely used as wound dressings, and their resemblance to native extracellular matrix (ECM) has lead to the recreation of three-dimensional ECM-like microenvironments. Overall, hydrogels show limited molecular diffusion and cell binding sites. Gellan gum-based spongy-like hydrogels, produced by a sequential advanced processing methodology, reunite hydrogels benefits and the additional capacity to control specific cell behavior. These structures can be stored as dried networks that after rehydration with a solution containing bioactive molecules and/or cells form spongy-like hydrogels. They show physical stability, flexibility, and viscoelasticity and facilitated manipulation for bioactive molecules and/or cells incorporation, in comparison to traditional hydrogels. These characteristics make them attractive for skin regeneration purposes. Herein we present the work leading to spongy-like hydrogels, highlighting the possibility of fine-tuning their properties, and effects of incorporating hyaluronic acid, adult skin cells, and stem cells to meet the demands of specific wound types.