Polymer Particle Shape Independently Influences Binding and Internalization by Macrophages

J Control Release. 2010 Nov 1;147(3):408-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2010.07.116. Epub 2010 Aug 5.


The interaction of macrophages with micro and nanoparticles (MNPs) is important because these cells clear particles from the circulation, and because they are potential therapeutic targets in inflammatory conditions, atherosclerosis and cancer. Therefore, an understanding of the features of MNPs that influence their interaction with macrophages may allow optimization of their properties for enhanced drug delivery. In this study, we show that particle shape impacts phagocytosis by macrophages, and more importantly, that particle shape and size separately impact attachment and internalization. The study provides a methodology for further exploring how particle shape can be controlled to achieve desired attachment and internalization. The results of the study also give mechanistic guidance on how particle shape can be manipulated to design drug carriers to evade macrophages, or alternatively to target macrophages.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Particle Size
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • Polystyrenes / metabolism*
  • Surface Properties
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical
  • Time Factors


  • Drug Carriers
  • Polystyrenes