Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 238428, 18 pages
Nanoparticles for Brain Drug Delivery
Department of Health Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Via Cadore 48, 20900 Monza, Italy
Received 20 March 2013; Accepted 11 April 2013
Academic Editors: H. Itoh, H. Pant, and M. Seno
Copyright © 2013 Massimo Masserini. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The central nervous system, one of the most delicate microenvironments of the body, is protected by the blood-brain barrier (BBB) regulating its homeostasis. BBB is a highly complex structure that tightly regulates the movement of ions of a limited number of small molecules and of an even more restricted number of macromolecules from the blood to the brain, protecting it from injuries and diseases. However, the BBB also significantly precludes the delivery of drugs to the brain, thus, preventing the therapy of a number of neurological disorders. As a consequence, several strategies are currently being sought after to enhance the delivery of drugs across the BBB. Within this review, the recently born strategy of brain drug delivery based on the use of nanoparticles, multifunctional drug delivery systems with size in the order of one-billionth of meters, is described. The review also includes a brief description of the structural and physiological features of the barrier and of the most utilized nanoparticles for medical use. Finally, the potential neurotoxicity of nanoparticles is discussed, and future technological approaches are described. The strong efforts to allow the translation from preclinical to concrete clinical applications are worth the economic investments.