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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1998 Aug;85(2):379-85.

Recent advances in pulmonary drug delivery using large, porous inhaled particles.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.


The ability to deliver proteins and peptides to the systemic circulation by inhalation has contributed to a rise in the number of inhalation therapies under investigation. For most of these therapies, aerosols are designed to comprise small spherical droplets or particles of mass density near 1 g/cm3 and mean geometric diameter between approximately 1 and 3 micron, suitable for particle penetration into the airways or lung periphery. Studies performed primarily with liquid aerosols have shown that these characteristics of inhaled aerosols lead to optimal therapeutic effect, both for local and systemic therapeutic delivery. Inefficient drug delivery can still arise, owing to excessive particle aggregation in an inhaler, deposition in the mouth and throat, and overly rapid particle removal from the lungs by mucocilliary or phagocytic clearance mechanisms. To address these problems, particle surface chemistry and surface roughness are traditionally manipulated. Recent data indicate that major improvements in aerosol particle performance may also be achieved by lowering particle mass density and increasing particle size, since large, porous particles display less tendency to agglomerate than (conventional) small and nonporous particles. Also, large, porous particles inhaled into the lungs can potentially release therapeutic substances for long periods of time by escaping phagocytic clearance from the lung periphery, thus enabling therapeutic action for periods ranging from hours to many days.

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