Pullulan and pullulan derivatives as promising biomolecules for drug and gene targeting

Carbohydr Polym. 2015 Jun 5;123:190-207. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.01.032. Epub 2015 Feb 4.


Pullulan is a water soluble exo-polysaccharide produced by yeast like fungus Aureobasidium pullulans. Pullulan structure have a unique characteristic i.e. co-existence of α-(1→4) and α-(1→6) linkages. Pullulan nanoparticle consists of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic characteristics which are due to its unique structure. It can be derivatized via various chemical reactions to increase its utility in the field of pharmaceuticals. Although, various drugs have the potential to become powerful therapeutic medicines, but their safe and targeted delivery to a specific site is a major challenge and rapidly growing area of research. Pullulan-drug conjugates can target infected cells/tissues and exhibit high bioactivity with the release of cytotoxic molecules. The pullulan conjugates can be used for targeted drug delivery as well as targeted gene delivery for the treatment of various diseases in liver, lungs, brain, spleen, etc. In this review, the applications of pullulan and its derivatives in drug and gene targeting are described.

Keywords: Drug delivery; Drug release; Gene targeting; Nanoparticles; Polysaccharide; Pullulan.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ascomycota / metabolism*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Gene Targeting
  • Glucans / chemistry*
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism


  • Drug Carriers
  • Glucans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Polysaccharides
  • pullulan
  • DNA