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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Electroconductive hydrogels for biomedical applications

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Abstract Electroconductive hydrogels (EHs), combining both the biomimetic features of hydrogels and the electrochemical properties of conductive polymers and carbon‐based materials, have received immense considerations over the past decade. The three‐dimensional porous structure, hydrophilic properties, and regulatable chemical and physical properties of EH resemble the extracellular matrix in tissues, enable EHs a good matrix for cell growth, proliferation, and migration. Different from nonconductive hydrogels, EHs possess high electrical conductivity and electrochemical redox properties, which can be utilized to detect electric signals generated in biological systems, and also to supply electrical stimulation to regulate the activity and function of cells and tissues. Hence, this article provides a summary of the new development of EH for biomedical applications in the decade. We give a brief introduction of the design and synthesis of EHs, as well as current applications of EHs in biomedical fields, including cell culture, tissue engineering, drug delivery and controlled release, biosensors, and implantable bioelectronics. The development trends and challenges of EHs for biomedical applications are also discussed. This article is categorized under: Implantable Materials and Surgical Technologies > Nanomaterials and Implants Diagnostic Tools > Biosensing Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Emerging Technologies
(a) Schematic illustration of electroconductive hydrogels (EHs). Inner circle: three types of EHs. Outer circle: five key properties of EHs for biomedical applications. (b) EH‐based biomedical applications including cell culture, tissue engineering, biosensors, controlled release and implantable electronics
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Electroconductive hydrogels (EHs) for implantable devices. (a) the hydrogel as intramuscular electrodes. Three hydrogel electrodes implanted into the dorsal muscle and the wires from the electrodes were connected to the signal detector. (Reprinted with permission from Han et al. (). Copyright 2017 Wiley) (b) Schematic illustration of the formation of a conductive and adhesive polypyrrole hydrogel, and its application as heart patches. (Reprinted with permission from Liang et al. (). Copyright 2018 Wiley)
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Electroconductive hydrogels (EHs) for biosensing. (a) Schematic illustration of the sensing mechanism of a EH/Pt nanoparticle/enzyme‐based bioelectrode. (Reprinted with permission from L. Li, Wang, et al. (). Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society) (b) Schematic illustration of an electrochemical immunoassay protocol based on a polypyrrole EH. (Reprinted with permission from Rong, Han, Feng, & Ma (). Copyright 2015 Springer Nature)
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Electroconductive hydrogels (EHs) for controlled delivery of drug and cells. (a) An electric field responsive nanoparticle hydrogel system for programmed drug delivery. (Reprinted with permission from Ge et al. (). Copyright 2011 American Chemical Society) (b) Cell delivery and antibacterial activities of a polyaniline‐based EH hydrogel. (Reprinted with permission from Dong et al. (). Copyright 2016 American Chemical Society)
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Electroconductive hydrogels (EHs) for cell culture and tissue engineering. (a) Fluorescent images of PC12 cells and schematic diagram of single live cells on nonconductive and conductive hydrogels, with significant neurite development on the conductive hydrogel. (Reprinted with permission from Liu et al. (). Copyright 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry) (b) A schematic representation illustrating the fabrication steps to produce 3D biohybrid actuators composed of cardiac tissue on top of a multilayer hydrogel sheet impregnated with aligned carbon nanotube microelectrodes. (Reprinted with permission from Shin et al. (). Copyright 2015 Wiley)
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Three different types of electroconductive hydrogels (EHs): Physical crosslinking EH, chemical crosslinking EH, and supramolecular crosslinking EH. (a) In situ polymerization to form EHs via physical crosslinking. (Reprinted with permission from Yuk et al. (). Copyright 2019 The Royal Society of Chemistry) (b) Schematic illustration of the formation of a chemical crosslinking conductive and adhesive hydrogel. (Reprinted with permission from Liang et al. (). Copyright 2018 Wiley) (c) Schematic illustrations of the 3D hierarchical microstructure of PANI hydrogel via supramolecular crosslinking. (Reprinted with permission from Pan et al. (). Copyright 2012 National Academy of Sciences)
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Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Emerging Technologies
Diagnostic Tools > Biosensing
Implantable Materials and Surgical Technologies > Nanomaterials and Implants

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