Short to ultrashort peptide-based hydrogels as a platform for biomedical applications
Short peptides have attracted significant attention from researchers in the past few years due to their easy design, synthesis and characterization, diverse functionalisation possibilities, low cost, possibility to make a large range of hierarchical nanostructures and most importantly their high biocompatibility and biodegradability. Generally, short peptides are also relatively more stable than their longer variants, non-immunogenic in nature and many of them self-assemble to provide an exciting range of nanostructures, including hydrogels. Thus, the development of short peptide-based hydrogels has become an area of intense investigation. Although these hydrogels have a water content of greater than 90%, they are surprisingly highly stable structures, and thus have been used for various biomedical applications, including cell therapeutics, drug delivery, tissue engineering and regeneration, contact lenses, biosensors, and wound healing, by different researchers. Herein, we review the progress of research in the rapidly expanding field of short to ultrashort peptide-based hydrogels and their possible applications. Special attention is paid to address and review this field with regard to the stability of peptide-based hydrogels, particularly to enzymatic degradation.