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Ligand density on nanoparticles: A parameter with critical impact on nanomedicine

: Alkilany, Alaaldin M.; Zhu, Lin; Weller, Horst; Mews, Alf; Parak, Wolfgang J.; Barz, Matthias; Feliu, Neus


Advanced drug delivery reviews 143 (2019), pp.22-36
ISSN: 0169-409x
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
EXC 2056; CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAP ()

Nanoparticles modified with ligands for specific targeting towards receptors expressed on the surface of target cells are discussed in literature towards improved delivery strategies. In such concepts the ligand density on the surface of the nanoparticles plays an important role. How many ligands per nanoparticle are best for the most efficient delivery? Importantly, this number may be different for in vitro and in vivo scenarios. In this review first viruses as “biological” nanoparticles are analyzed towards their ligand density, which is then compared to the ligand density of engineered nanoparticles. Then, experiments are reviewed in which in vitro and in vivo nanoparticle delivery has been analyzed in terms of ligand density. These results help to understand which ligand densities should be attempted for better targeting. Finally synthetic methods for controlling the ligand density of nanoparticles are described.