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Department of Bioinspired Science (WCU), Department of Chemistry and Nano Science, Ewha Womans University, 52, Ewhayeodae-gil, Seoul, Korea
; Fax: +82-2-3277-2384
; Tel: +82-2-3277-3411
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012,41, 4860-4883
14 Mar 2012,
First published online
11 Jun 2012
Aqueous solutions that undergo sol-to-gel transition as the temperature increases have been extensively studied during the last decade. The material can be designed by controlling the hydrophilic and hydrophobic balance of the material. Basically, the molecular weight of the hydrophilic block and hydrophobic block of a compound should be fine-tuned from the synthetic point of view. In addition, stereochemistry, microsequence, topology, and nanostructures of the compound also affect the transition temperature, gel window, phase diagram, and modulus of the gel. From a practical point of view, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and interactions between the material and drug or cell should be considered in designing a thermogelling material. The interactions are particularly important in that they control drug release profile and initial burst release of the drug in the drug delivery system, and affect cell proliferation, differentiation, and biomarker expression in three-dimensional cell culture and tissue engineering application. This review provides an in-depth summary of the recent progress of thermogelling systems including polymers, low molecular compounds, and nanoemulsions. Their biomedical applications were also comparatively discussed. In addition, perspectives on future material design of a new thermogelling material and its application are suggested.
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