Nanogels as pharmaceutical carriers: finite networks of infinite capabilities

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2009;48(30):5418-29. doi: 10.1002/anie.200900441.


Nanogels are swollen nanosized networks composed of hydrophilic or amphiphilic polymer chains. They are developed as carriers for the transport of drugs, and can be designed to spontaneously incorporate biologically active molecules through formation of salt bonds, hydrogen bonds, or hydrophobic interactions. Polyelectrolyte nanogels can readily incorporate oppositely charged low-molecular-mass drugs and biomacromolecules such as oligo- and polynucleotides (siRNA, DNA) as well as proteins. The guest molecules interact electrostatically with the ionic polymer chains of the gel and become bound within the finite nanogel. Multiple chemical functionalities can be employed in the nanogels to introduce imaging labels and to allow targeted drug delivery. The latter can be achieved, for example, with degradable or cleavable cross-links. Recent studies suggest that nanogels have a very promising future in biomedical applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Drug Carriers / metabolism
  • Drug Carriers / pharmacology
  • Nanogels
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / metabolism
  • Polyethylene Glycols / pharmacology
  • Polyethyleneimine / chemistry*
  • Polyethyleneimine / metabolism
  • Polyethyleneimine / pharmacology
  • Polymers / chemistry


  • Drug Carriers
  • Nanogels
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Polymers
  • polyethylene glycol polyethyleneimine nanogel
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Polyethyleneimine