Solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) and nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) comprise a category of versatile drug delivery systems that have been used in the biomedical field for >25 years. SLNs and NLCs have been used for the treatment of various diseases including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular, and are considered a standard treatment for the latter, due to their inherent ability to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB). In this review, a presentation of the most important brain diseases (brain cancer, ischemic stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis) is approached, followed by the basic fabrication techniques of SLNs and NLCs. A detailed description of the reported studies of the last seven years, of active and passive targeting SLNs and NLCs for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme and of other brain cancers, as well as for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases is also carried out. Finally, a brief description of the advantages, the disadvantages, and the future perspectives in the use of these nanocarriers is reported, aiming at giving an insight of the limitations that have to be overcome in order to result in a delivery system with high therapeutic efficacy and without the limitations of the existing nano-systems.Graphical abstract
A multi-functional nanostructured lipid carrier (M-NLC) can penetrate the blood brain barrier (BBB) after proper surface functionalization and deliver its therapeutic cargo in the diseased tissue.