Delivery of drugs to intracellular organelles using drug delivery systems: Analysis of research trends and targeting efficiencies

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Abstract

Targeting of drug delivery systems (DDSs) to specific intracellular organelles (i.e., subcellular targeting) has been investigated in numerous publications, but targeting efficiency of these systems is seldom reported. We searched scientific publications in the subcellular DDS targeting field and analyzed targeting efficiency and major formulation parameters that affect it. We identified 77 scientific publications that matched the search criteria. In the majority of these studies nanoparticle-based DDSs were applied, while liposomes, quantum dots and conjugates were used less frequently. The nucleus was the most common intracellular target, followed by mitochondrion, endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. In 65% of the publications, DDSs surface was decorated with specific targeting residues, but the efficiency of this surface decoration was not analyzed in predominant majority of the studies. Moreover, only 23% of the analyzed publications contained quantitative data on DDSs subcellular targeting efficiency, while the majority of publications reported qualitative results only. From the analysis of publications in the subcellular targeting field, it appears that insufficient efforts are devoted to quantitative analysis of the major formulation parameters and of the DDSs’ intracellular fate. Based on these findings, we provide recommendations for future studies in the field of organelle-specific drug delivery and targeting.

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