Dendrimers Effects on the Immune System: Insights into Toxicity and Therapeutic Utility

Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(21):3134-3141. doi: 10.2174/1381612823666170309151958.


Background: Dendrimers are hyperbranched polymeric nanomaterials increasingly used in research, industrial and biomedical applications. Establishing safety profile of these particles includes an understanding of their interactions with blood components and the immune system.

Method: Herein I review the literature demonstrating how tuning dendrimer physicochemical properties influences their interaction with erythrocytes, platelets, plasma proteins, complement and coagulation systems. Dendrimer immunogenicity, adjuvanticity, allergenicity, anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive and antibacterial properties are also discussed.

Conclusion: Dendrimers hemato- and immune- compatibility are determined by particle size, architecture, type and density of surface functional groups. Case studies from the literature are discussed to support this conclusion. The review also highlights questions which require more thorough investigation to fill the gaps in our understanding of immunological properties of dendrimers.

Keywords: Dendrimers; adjuvant; antibody.; antigen; nanoparticles; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Complement Activation / drug effects
  • Dendrimers / adverse effects
  • Dendrimers / pharmacology*
  • Dendrimers / therapeutic use
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Protein Binding


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dendrimers
  • Immunosuppressive Agents