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International Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 865704, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/865704
Review Article

Chitosan-Grafted Copolymers and Chitosan-Ligand Conjugates as Matrices for Pulmonary Drug Delivery

1Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, Rua Aníbal Cunha 164, 4050-047 Porto, Portugal
2Institut für Biologie und Biotechnologie der Pflanzen, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universtät Münster, Hindenburgplatz 55, 48143 Münster, Germany
3The Group of Biomaterials and Nanotechnology for Improved Medicines (BIONIMED), Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, 956 Junín Street, 6th Floor, 1113 Buenos Aires, Argentina
4National Science Research Council (CONICET), C1033AAJ Buenos Aires, Argentina
5CICS, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde-Norte, Rua Central de Gandra 1317, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal

Received 28 April 2011; Accepted 21 July 2011

Academic Editor: Jianjun Li

Copyright © 2011 Fernanda Andrade et al. 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.

Abstract

Recently, much attention has been given to pulmonary drug delivery by means of nanosized systems to treat both local and systemic diseases. Among the different materials used for the production of nanocarriers, chitosan enjoys high popularity due to its inherent characteristics such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, and mucoadhesion, among others. Through the modification of chitosan chemical structure, either by the addition of new chemical groups or by the functionalization with ligands, it is possible to obtain derivatives with advantageous and specific characteristics for pulmonary administration. In this paper, we discuss the advantages of using chitosan for nanotechnology-based pulmonary delivery of drugs and summarize the most recent and promising modifications performed to the chitosan molecule in order to improve its characteristics.