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Mucus As Physiological Barrier To Intracellular Delivery

E. Fröhlich, E. Roblegg
Published 2014 · Chemistry

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Nanoparticle-based delivery systems are versatile tools to improve drug delivery because size, surface charge and surface hydrophobicity can be varied to meet specific physiological requirements. While small size, hydrophobicity, and positive surface charge, in general, improve passage through the plasma membrane and enhance intracellular delivery, these particle parameters may not be optimal if a mucus layer covers the target cells. Many target cells for drug delivery in the gastrointestinal tract but also in the respiratory tract are covered by mucus. The review describes the different compositions of mucus-covered epithelia of the oro-gastrointestinal and the respiratory tract and strategies to reach target cells beyond the mucus layer by the design of appropriate nanocarriers.
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