The development of three-dimensional matrices capable of recapitulating the main features
of native extracellular matrix and contribute for the establishment of a favorable microenvironment for
cell behavior and fate is expected to circumvent some of the main limitations of cell-based therapies.
In this context, self-assembly has emerged as a promising strategy to engineer cell-compatible hydrogels.
A wide number of synthetically-derived biopolymers, such as proteins, peptides and DNA/RNA,
with intrinsic ability to self-assemble into well-defined nanofibrous structures, are being explored. The resulting hydrogels,
in addition to closely resembling the architecture of native cellular microenvironments, present a versatile and dynamic
behavior that allows them to be designed to undergo sol-to-gel transition in response to exogenous stimulus. This
review presents an overview on the state-of-the-art of the different strategies being explored for the development of injectable
synthetic self-assembled hydrogels for cell transplantation and/or recruitment of endogenous cells, with an emphasis
on their biological performance, both in vitro and in vivo. Systems based on peptides are the most widely explored
and have already generated promising results in pre-clinical in vivo studies involving different repair/regenerative scenarios,
including cartilage, bone, nerve and heart. On the other hand, systems based on DNA and hybrid hydrogels are now
emerging for application in the biomedical field with high potential. Finally, the main challenges hampering the translation
of these systems to the clinic and the issues that need to be addressed for these to progress from bench-to-bedside are