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Photochem Photobiol. 2009 Jul-Aug;85(4):848-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2008.00530.x. Epub 2009 Feb 13.

Light-sensitive intelligent drug delivery systems.

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Departamento de Farmacia y Tecnología Farmacéutica, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Drug delivery systems (DDS) capable of releasing an active molecule at the appropriate site and at a rate that adjusts in response to the progression of the disease or to certain functions/biorhythms of the organism are particularly appealing. Biocompatible materials sensitive to certain physiological variables or external physicochemical stimuli (intelligent materials) can be used for achieving this aim. Light-responsiveness is receiving increasing attention owing to the possibility of developing materials sensitive to innocuous electromagnetic radiation (mainly in the UV, visible and near-infrared range), which can be applied on demand at well delimited sites of the body. Some light-responsive DDS are of a single use (i.e. the light triggers an irreversible structural change that provokes the delivery of the entire dose) while others able to undergo reversible structural changes when cycles of light/dark are applied, behave as multi-switchable carriers (releasing the drug in a pulsatile manner). In this review, the mechanisms used to develop polymeric micelles, gels, liposomes and nanocomposites with light-sensitiveness are analyzed. Examples of the capability of some polymeric, lipidic and inorganic structures to regulate the release of small solutes and biomacromolecules are presented and the potential of light-sensitive carriers as functional components of intelligent DDS is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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