Liposomes as Antibiotic Delivery Systems: A Promising Nanotechnological Strategy against Antimicrobial Resistance

Molecules. 2021 Apr 2;26(7):2047. doi: 10.3390/molecules26072047.


Antimicrobial drugs are key tools to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Despite the early success of antibiotics, the current treatment of bacterial infections faces serious challenges due to the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria. Moreover, the decline of research and private investment in new antibiotics further aggravates this antibiotic crisis era. Overcoming the complexity of antimicrobial resistance must go beyond the search of new classes of antibiotics and include the development of alternative solutions. The evolution of nanomedicine has allowed the design of new drug delivery systems with improved therapeutic index for the incorporated compounds. One of the most promising strategies is their association to lipid-based delivery (nano)systems. A drug's encapsulation in liposomes has been demonstrated to increase its accumulation at the infection site, minimizing drug toxicity and protecting the antibiotic from peripheral degradation. In addition, liposomes may be designed to fuse with bacterial cells, holding the potential to overcome antimicrobial resistance and biofilm formation and constituting a promising solution for the treatment of potential fatal multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In this review, we aim to address the applicability of antibiotic encapsulated liposomes as an effective therapeutic strategy for bacterial infections.

Keywords: antibiotic; antimicrobial resistance; bacterial infection; liposome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial* / drug effects
  • Liposomes
  • Nanotechnology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Liposomes