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Int J Pharm. 2007 Aug 1;340(1-2):207-15. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

UEA I-bearing nanoparticles for brain delivery following intranasal administration.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, PR China.


Surface engineering of nanoparticles with lectins opened a novel pathway to improve the brain uptake of agents loaded by biodegradable PEG-PLA nanoparticles following intranasal administration. Ulex europeus agglutinin I (UEA I), specifically binding to l-fucose, which is largely located in the olfactory epithelium, was selected as a promising targeting ligand and conjugated onto the PEG-PLA nanoparticles surface with an optimized protocol relying on maleimide-mediated covalent binding technique. The in vivo results in rats suggested that UEA I modification at the nanoparticles surface facilitated the absorption of a fluorescent marker--6-coumarin associated with the nanoparticles into the brain following intranasal administration with significant increase in the area under the concentration-time curve (about 1.7 times) in different brain tissues compared with that of coumarin incorporated in the unmodified ones. UEA I-conjugation also elevated the brain-targeting efficiency of nanoparticles. Inhibition experiment of specific sugar suggested that the interactions between the nasal mucosa and the lectinised nanoparticles were due to the immobilization of carbohydrate-binding pockets on the surface of the nanoparticles. Distribution profiles of UEA I-modified nanoparticles indicated their higher affinity to the olfactory mucosa than to the respiratory one. Therefore, the UEA I-modified nanoparticles might serve as potential carriers for brain drug delivery, especially for mental therapeutics with multiple biological effects.

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