Dynamic materials have been widely studied for regulation of cell adhesion that is important to a variety of biological and biomedical applications. These materials can undergo changes mainly through one of the two mechanisms: ligand release in response to chemical, physical, or biological stimuli, and ligand burial in response to mechanical stretching or the change of electrical potential. This study demonstrates an encrypted ligand and a new hydrogel that are capable of inducing and inhibiting cell adhesion, which is controlled by molecular reconfiguration. The ligand initially exhibits an inert state; it can be reconfigured into active and inert states by using unblocking and recovering molecules in physiological conditions. Since molecular reconfiguration does not require the release of the ligand from the hydrogels, inhibiting and inducing cell adhesion on the hydrogels can be repeated for multiple cycles.
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