Cyclodextrins (CDs) are one of the most versatile substances produced by nature, and it is in the aqueous biological environment where the multifaceted potential of CDs can be completely unveiled. CDs form inclusion complexes with a variety of guest molecules, including polymers, producing very diverse biocompatible supramolecular structures. Additionally, CDs themselves can trigger cell differentiation to distinct lineages depending on the substituent groups and also promote salt nucleation. These features together with the affinity-driven regulated release of therapeutic molecules, growth factors and gene vectors explain the rising interest for CDs as building blocks in regenerative medicine. Supramolecular poly(pseudo)rotaxane structures and zipper-like assemblies exhibit outstanding viscoelastic properties, performing as syringeable implants. The sharp shear-responsiveness of the supramolecular assemblies is opening new avenues for the design of bioinks for 3D printing and also of electrospun fibers. CDs can also be transformed into polymerizable monomers to prepare alternative nanostructured materials. The aim of this review is to analyze the role that CDs may play in regenerative medicine through the analysis of the last decade research. Most applications of CD-based scaffolds are focussed on non-healing bone fractures, cartilage reparation and skin recovery, but also on even more challenging demands such as neural grafts. For the sake of clarity, main sections of this review are organized according to the architecture of the CD-based scaffolds, mainly syringeable supramolecular hydrogels, 3D printed scaffolds, electrospun fibers, and composites, since the same scaffold type may find application in different tissues.Graphical abstract
Cyclodextrins perform as multi-action structural agents of novel 2D and 3D architectures and endow them with unique cell differentiation and mineral nucleation capabilities and reversible hosting of active substances and cell ligands.