Stimuli-responsive hydrogels for manipulation of cell microenvironment: From chemistry to biofabrication technology

Mohamed Alaa Mohamed, Afsoon Fallahi, Ahmed M.A. El-Sokkary, Sahar Salehi, Magda A. Akl, Amin Jafari, Ali Tamayol, Hicham Fenniri, Ali Khademhosseini, Stelios T. Andreadis, Chong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Native tissues orchestrate their functions by complex interdependent cascades of biochemical and biophysical cues that vary spatially and temporally during cellular processes. Scaffolds with well-tuned structural, mechanical, and biochemical properties have been developed to guide cell behavior and provide insight on cell-matrix interaction. However, static scaffolds very often fail to mimic the dynamicity of native extracellular matrices. Stimuli-responsive scaffolds have emerged as powerful platforms that capture vital features of native tissues owing to their ability to change chemical and physical properties in response to cytocompatible stimuli, thus enabling on-demand manipulation of cell microenvironment. The vast expansion in biorthogonal chemistries and stimuli-responsive functionalities has fuelled further the development of new smart scaffolds that can permit multiple irreversible or reversible spatiotemporal modulation of cell-directing cues, thereby prompting in-depth studies to interpret the decisive elements that regulate cell behavior. Integration of stimuli-responsive hydrogels with current biofabrication technologies has allowed the development of dynamic scaffolds with organizational features and hierarchical architectures similar to native tissues. This review highlights the progress achieved using stimuli-responsive hydrogels in fundamental cell biology studies, with particular emphasis on the interplay between chemistry, biomaterials design, and biofabrication technologies for manipulation of cell microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101147
JournalProgress in Polymer Science
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Biofabrication technology
  • Cell-biomaterial interaction
  • Cellular microenvironment
  • Dynamic biomaterials
  • Spatiotemporal modulation
  • Stimuli-responsive hydrogels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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