Nanotechnology advances towards development of targeted-treatment for obesity

J Nanobiotechnology. 2019 Dec 16;17(1):122. doi: 10.1186/s12951-019-0554-3.


Obesity through its association with type 2 diabetes (T2D), cancer and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), poses a serious health threat, as these diseases contribute to high mortality rates. Pharmacotherapy alone or in combination with either lifestyle modification or surgery, is reliable in maintaining a healthy body weight, and preventing progression to obesity-induced diseases. However, the anti-obesity drugs are limited by non-specificity and unsustainable weight loss effects. As such, novel and improved approaches for treatment of obesity are urgently needed. Nanotechnology-based therapies are investigated as an alternative strategy that can treat obesity and be able to overcome the drawbacks associated with conventional therapies. The review presents three nanotechnology-based anti-obesity strategies that target the white adipose tissues (WATs) and its vasculature for the reversal of obesity. These include inhibition of angiogenesis in the WATs, transformation of WATs to brown adipose tissues (BATs), and photothermal lipolysis of WATs. Compared to conventional therapy, the targeted-nanosystems have high tolerability, reduced side effects, and enhanced efficacy. These effects are reproducible using various nanocarriers (liposomes, polymeric and gold nanoparticles), thus providing a proof of concept that targeted nanotherapy can be a feasible strategy that can combat obesity and prevent its comorbidities.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Nanotechnology; Obesity; Targeted delivery; White adipose tissue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / metabolism
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Drug Liberation
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Drug Carriers
  • Lipids
  • Polymers
  • Gold