Dendritic Polymers for the Repair of Tissues
As the clinical demands increase for better approaches to repair damaged or diseased tissues, so do the design requirements for the materials to be used. Of the materials in use or under investigation, polymers represent a significant category. Recently, dendrimers-monodisperse, highly branched, globular polymers-are being investigated for a number of biomedical applications including tissue repair. For these applications, the dendrimers or dendritic macromolecules are crosslinked to form hydrogels.Their monodispersity combined with the control of their size, architecture, density, and surface groups, makes them idealstructures for hydrogel formation. Hydrogels, either as sealants or scaffolds for cells, represent one of the most important classes of biomaterials because of their tunable mechanical properties, biocompatibility, non-toxicity, and similarity to natural softtissues. Over the last two decades, a large number and variety
of dendritic-based hydrogels are reported and characterized. This chapter begins with a description of the synthetic routes and properties of these dendritic hydrogels, followed by the evaluation of their uses in tissue repair applications and ends with a summary of the field and future perspectives.