Temperature-responsive intelligent surfaces, prepared by the modification of an interface with poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and its derivatives, have been used for biomedical applications. Such surfaces exhibit temperature-responsive hydrophilic/hydrophobic alterations with external temperature changes, which, in turn, result in thermally modulated interactions with biomolecules and cells. In this review, we focus on the application of these intelligent surfaces to chromatographic separation and cell cultures. Chromatographic separations using several types of intelligent surfaces are mentioned briefly, and various effects related to the separation of bioactive compounds are discussed, including wettability, copolymer composition and graft polymer architecture. Similarly, we also summarize temperature-responsive cell culture substrates that allow the recovery of confluent cell monolayers as contiguous living cell sheets for tissue-engineering applications. The key factors in temperature-dependent cell adhesion/detachment control are discussed from the viewpoint of grafting temperature-responsive polymers, and new methodologies for effective cell sheet culturing and the construction of thick tissues are summarized.
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