Hydrogels that respond to their environment have been extensively used as controlled drug delivery devices. An emerging trend is to form these “dynamic” hydrogels from polymers that undergo conformational changes. Indeed, nanometer scale polymer conformational changes have translated to macroscopic changes in hydrogel properties and controlled the release of encapsulated drugs. This review will focus on the mechanisms that control protein release from dynamic hydrogels. Specifically, we will highlight emerging mechanisms to form dynamic hydrogels, whose functional nature is derived from nature-inspired polymer conformational changes. Pertinent results from the literature will be examined to illustrate how these nanometer scale polymer conformational changes influence therapeutic protein release from dynamic hydrogels.
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