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Natural Polymeric Nanoparticles for Brain-Targeting: Implications on Drug and Gene Delivery

[ Vol. 22 , Issue. 22 ]


Ahmed O. Elzoghby, Mahmoud M. Abd-Elwakil, Kholod Abd-Elsalam, Mustafa T. Elsayed, Yosra Hashem and Ola Mohamed   Pages 3305 - 3323 ( 19 )


There is a broad range of biological, chemical and physical hurdles for drugs to reach the brain. Nanoparticulate drug delivery systems hold tremendous potential for diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders, including the capacity of crossing the blood–brain barrier and accessing to the brain after systemic administration. Thus, nanoparticles enable the delivery of a great variety of drugs including anticancer drugs, analgesics, anti- Alzheimer's drugs, protease inhibitors, and several macromolecules into the brain. Moreover, nanoparticles may importantly reduce the drug's toxicity and adverse effects due to an alteration of the body distribution. A very critical and important requirement for nanoparticulate brain delivery is that the employed nanoparticles are biocompatible and, moreover, rapidly biodegradable. Therefore, nanocarriers fabricated from natural polymers including polysaccharides and proteins are particularly interesting. Meeting requirements such as low cytotoxicity, abundant surface functional groups, high drug binding capacity and significant uptake into the targeted cells, natural polymer-based nanocarriers represent promising candidates for efficient drug and gene delivery to the brain. The current review highlights the latest advances achieved in developing drug-loaded polysaccharide and protein nanocarriers for brain delivery. The nanoparticles are discussed with respect to their formulation aspects, advantages, limitations, as well as the major outcomes of the in vitro and in vivo investigations. Modification of the nanoparticle surface with specific brain targeting ligands or by coating with certain surfactants for enhanced brain delivery is also reviewed. In addition, the mechanisms of the nanoparticle-mediated drug transport across the BBB are also discussed in this review.


Brain targeting, drug delivery, gene delivery, natural polymers, polysaccharide nanoparticles, protein nanoparticles, glioma.


Cancer Nanotechnology Research Laboratory (CNRL), Faculty of Pharmacy, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.

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