The influence of pulmonary surfactant on nanoparticulate drug delivery systems

Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2011 Apr;77(3):350-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2010.12.025. Epub 2010 Dec 31.


The pulmonary route is very attractive for drug delivery by inhalation. In this regard, nanoparticulate drug delivery systems, designed as multifunctional engineered nanoparticles, are very promising since they combine several opportunities like a rather uniform distribution of drug dose among all ventilated alveoli allowing for uniform cellular drug internalization. However, although the field of nanomedicine offers multiple opportunities, it still is in its infancy and the research has to proceed in order to obtain a specific targeting of the drug combined with minimum side effects. If inhaled nanoparticulate drug delivery systems are deposited on the pulmonary surfactant, they come into contact with phospholipids and surfactant proteins. It is highly likely that the interaction of nanoparticulate drug delivery systems with surfactant phospholipids and proteins will be able to mediate/modulate the further fate of this specific drug delivery system. In the present comment, we discuss the potential interactions of nanoparticulate drug delivery systems with pulmonary surfactant as well as the potential consequences of this interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / metabolism*
  • Surface Properties


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Phospholipids
  • Pulmonary Surfactants