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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 129458, 12 pages
Review Article

Ligation Strategies for Targeting Liposomal Nanocarriers

Membrane Biochemistry & Biophysics, Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research and Institute of Biomembranes, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, H.R. Kruyt Building, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands

Received 27 December 2013; Revised 12 May 2014; Accepted 15 May 2014; Published 14 July 2014

Academic Editor: Michael D. Coleman

Copyright © 2014 Patricia Marqués-Gallego and Anton I. P. M. de Kroon. 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.


Liposomes have been exploited for pharmaceutical purposes, including diagnostic imaging and drug and gene delivery. The versatility of liposomes as drug carriers has been demonstrated by a variety of clinically approved formulations. Since liposomes were first reported, research of liposomal formulations has progressed to produce improved delivery systems. One example of this progress is stealth liposomes, so called because they are equipped with a PEGylated coating of the liposome bilayer, leading to prolonged blood circulation and improved biodistribution of the liposomal carrier. A growing research area focuses on the preparation of liposomes with the ability of targeting specific tissues. Several strategies to prepare liposomes with active targeting ligands have been developed over the last decades. Herein, several strategies for the functionalization of liposomes are concisely summarized, with emphasis on recently developed technologies for the covalent conjugation of targeting ligands to liposomes.