Porous and responsive hydrogels for cell therapy

Li Wang, Myriam Neumann, Tianlong Fu, Weida Li, Xin Cheng, Bao Lian Su

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cell therapy is an emerging and promising regenerative approach by cell replacement for the treatment of diseases or injuries. Hydrogels, featuring high biocompatibility, tunable physicochemical properties, controllable structures, and multiple functionalization possibilities, have been developed as most-frequently-used cell reservoirs. Aiming at treating diseases or injuries with high efficiency, a series of porous and responsive hydrogels have been fabricated for the encapsulation of therapeutic cells. These cell-laden hydrogels have been applied in a broad range of pre-clinical researches of which results have demonstrated hopeful prospects in cell therapy. In this review, we highlight the recent progress of porous and responsive hydrogels used for cell encapsulation towards cell therapy. The hydrogels used for cell therapy are firstly classified. The porosity fabrication strategies of hydrogels are summarized and discussed. The responsive functionalities of hydrogels are surveyed, focusing on temperature-sensitivity, photo-sensitivity, pH-responsivity and biomolecule-sensitivity. Moreover, preclinical researches of hydrogels towards cell therapy, including the treatment of several diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, cancer, neuro disorders, cardiac diseases and bone injuries are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-157
Number of pages23
JournalCurrent Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Cell encapsulation
  • Cell therapy
  • Hydrogels
  • Porosity
  • Stimuli-responsivity


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