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J Control Release. 2005 Nov 28;108(2-3):193-214. Epub 2005 Oct 24.

Targeted nanoparticles for drug delivery through the blood-brain barrier for Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Division of Advanced Radiological Sciences, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia among the elderly, affecting 5% of Americans over age 65, and 20% over age 80. An excess of senile plaques (beta-amyloid protein) and neurofibrillary tangles (tau protein), ventricular enlargement, and cortical atrophy characterizes it. Unfortunately, targeted drug delivery to the central nervous system (CNS), for the therapeutic advancement of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, is complicated by restrictive mechanisms imposed at the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Opsonization by plasma proteins in the systemic circulation is an additional impediment to cerebral drug delivery. This review gives an account of the BBB and discusses the literature on biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) with appropriate surface modifications that can deliver drugs of interest beyond the BBB for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in neurological disorders, such as AD. The physicochemical properties of the NPs at different surfactant concentrations, stabilizers, and amyloid-affinity agents could influence the transport mechanism.

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