Exploiting oxidative microenvironments in the body as triggers for drug delivery systems

Shivanjali Joshi-Barr, Caroline De Gracia Lux, Enas Mahmoud, Adah Almutairi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Significance: Reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) play an important role in cell signaling pathways. However, the increased production of these species may disrupt cellular homeostasis, giving rise to pathological conditions. Biomaterials that are responsive to ROS/RNS can be strategically used to specifically release therapeutics and diagnostic agents to regions undergoing oxidative stress. Recent Advances: Many nanocarriers intended to exploit redox micro-environments as triggers for drug release, summarized and compared in this review, have recently been developed. We describe these carriers' chemical structures, strategies for payload protection and oxidation-selective release, and ROS/RNS sensitivity as tested in initial studies. Critical Issues: ROS/RNS are unstable, so reliable measures of their concentrations in various conditions are scarce. Combined with the dearth of materials shown to respond to physiologically relevant levels of ROS/RNS, evaluations of their true sensitivity are difficult. Future Directions: Oxidation-responsive nanocarriers developed thus far show tremendous potential for applicability in vivo; however, the sensitivity of these chemistries needs to be fine tuned to enable responses to physiological levels of ROS and RNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)730-754
Number of pages25
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 10 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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