Advances in mucoadhesion and mucoadhesive polymers

Macromol Biosci. 2011 Jun 14;11(6):748-64. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201000388. Epub 2010 Dec 27.


Mucoadhesion is the ability of materials to adhere to mucosal membranes in the human body and provide a temporary retention. This property has been widely used to develop polymeric dosage forms for buccal, oral, nasal, ocular and vaginal drug delivery. Excellent mucoadhesive properties are typical for hydrophilic polymers possessing charged groups and/or non-ionic functional groups capable of forming hydrogen bonds with mucosal surfaces. This feature article considers recent advances in the study of mucoadhesion and mucoadhesive polymers. It provides an overview on the structure of mucosal membranes, properties of mucus gels and the nature of mucoadhesion. It describes the most common methods to evaluate mucoadhesive properties of various dosage forms and discusses the main classes of mucoadhesives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Dosage Forms
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Materials Testing / methods*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Mucins / chemistry
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Mucous Membrane / chemistry
  • Mucous Membrane / metabolism*
  • Mucus / chemistry
  • Mucus / metabolism*
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Polymers / metabolism
  • Rheology / methods
  • Solubility


  • Dosage Forms
  • Mucins
  • Polymers