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Home arrow Engineering arrow Emerging nanotechnologies for diagnostics, drug delivery and medical devices

Multifunctional Micro- and Nanoparticles

Rubi Mahato

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham Park, NJ, United States


  • 1. Introduction 21
  • 1.1 Microparticles 22
  • 1.2 Nanoparticles 25
  • 1.3 Trojan Microparticles 26
  • 1.4 Multifunctional Micro-and Nanoparticles 26
  • 2. Micro- and Nanomaterials in the Synthesis of Multifunctional Carriers 27
  • 2.1 Lipid-Based Micro/Nanocarriers 28
  • 2.1.1 Liposome 28
  • 2.1.2 Microemulsions 29
  • 2.1.3 Solid-Lipid Nanoparticles 29
  • 2.2 Polymeric Micro/Nanocarriers 30
  • 2.2.1 Natural Polymers 30
  • 2.2.2 Synthetic Polymers 30
  • 2.3 Inorganic Micro/Nanocarriers 31
  • 2.3.1 Quantum Dots 31
  • 2.3.2 Magnetic Nanoparticles 32
  • 2.3.3 Gold Nanoparticles 32
  • 3. Types of Functional Moieties 32
  • 3.1 Peptides 32
  • 3.2 Proteins and Antibodies 33
  • 3.3 Nucleic Acids 33
  • 3.4 Carbohydrates 34
  • 3.5 Fluorescent Dyes 34
  • 4. Functionalization of Micro-and Nanoparticles 35
  • 4.1 Methods of Conjugating Functional Moieties to Micro- and Nanoparticles 35

References 39


In the past two decades (between 1995—2015) particulate drug delivery systems have grown from their novice stage to the development of micro- and nanoparticle-based products for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Some of these technologies have been approved for clinical application, and many more have advanced to clinical trial.

© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Emerging Nanotechnologies for Diagnostics, Drug Delivery, and Medical Devices

ISBN 978-0-323-42978-8,

Currently micro- and nanotechnology is actively pursued in various areas of scientific research, and the area has attracted many scientists from multidisciplinary scientific field. By definition, microparticles are particulate dispersion or solid particles with a size in the range of 1—1000 pm, whereas nanoparticles represent solid particles in the size range of 1—1000 nm. However, a majority of the microparticles and nanoparticles are smaller than 100 pm and 200 nm, respectively. A difference in the size between micro- and nanoparticles elicits various effects in terms of morphology and behavior. Nanoparticles show better penetration through the biological tissues, barriers, and cellular membranes. However, they do possess some disadvantages such as smaller retention time in tissues, body cavities, and blood circulation. On the other hand, microparticles may not penetrate very deep into tissue, and can deliver cargo into cells that are phagocytic in nature, but display longer retention time [1]. In terms of pharmaceutical applications micro- and nanoparticles have been widely employed in medicine, biochemistry, and aerosol research. Micro- and nanoparticles offer a number of advantages over the conventional dosage form, the most useful of which is that these particles can be formulated into solid, liquid, and semisolid dosage forms. As a solid dosage form the particles can be formulated as dry powder, which can be applied for pulmonary delivery by inhalation. As a liquid dosage form these particles can be injected into tissue as well as blood circulation. As a semisolid dosage form the drug can be incorporated into a suitable vehicle and can be formulated for topical application. Micro- and nanoparticle formulations can be administered through various routes such as oral, parenteral, pulmonary, nasal, ocular, and transdermal [2]. The dosages can be self-administered or be integrated into the microneedle device [3]. In addition, microparticles and nanoparticles (NPs) can be formulated to deliver poorly soluble drugs, to protect the drug from chemical and proteolytic degradation, and to reduce the dose. The particles tend to accumulate in inflamed tissue, which in turn improves the efficacy and reduces toxicity. Moreover, such particles can be designed as extended release dosage form to improve patient compliance [4,5]. Besides, the particles can be modified with specific ligands to target cell, tissue, or organ, along with a fluorescent dye for imaging. Such modified particulates are known as multifunctional micro-nanoparticles. Multifunctional micro- and nanoparticle systems can integrate targeting, imaging, and treatment modalities on the surface and core of the particulate structure, resulting in more effective treatment in various diseased tissues [6]. Table 2.1 summarizes a number of nanoparticle-based drug and delivery systems that have been approved or are undergoing clinic trials.

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