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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Polysaccharide colloidal particles as delivery systems for macromolecules.

Mucosal delivery of complex molecules such as peptides, proteins, oligonucleotides, and plasmids is one of the most intensively studied subjects. The use of colloidal carriers made of hydrophilic polysaccharides, i.e. chitosan, has arisen as a promising alternative for improving the transport of such macromolecules across biological surfaces. This article reviews the approaches which have aimed to associate macromolecules to chitosan in the form of colloidal structures and analyzes the evidence of their efficacy in improving the transport of the associated molecule through mucosae and epithelia. Chitosan has been shown to form colloidal particles and entrap macromolecules through a number of mechanisms, including ionic crosslinking, desolvation, or ionic complexation, though some of these systems have been realized only in conjunction with DNA molecules. An alternative involving the chemical modification of chitosan has also been useful for the association of macromolecules to self-assemblies and vesicles. To date, the in vivo efficacy of these chitosan-based colloidal carriers has been reported for two different applications: while DNA-chitosan hybrid nanospheres were found to be acceptable transfection carriers, ionically crosslinked chitosan nanoparticles appeared to be efficient vehicles for the transport of peptides across the nasal mucosa. The potential applications and future prospects of these new systems for mucosal delivery of macromolecules are highlighted at the end of the chapter.[1]


  1. Polysaccharide colloidal particles as delivery systems for macromolecules. Janes, K.A., Calvo, P., Alonso, M.J. Adv. Drug Deliv. Rev. (2001) [Pubmed]
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