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Applications of π-π stacking interactions in the design of drug-delivery systems

Zhuang, Wan-Ru, Wang, Yi, Cui, Peng-Fei, Xing, Lei, Lee, Jaiwoo, Kim, Dongyoon, Jiang, Hu-Lin, Oh, Yu-Kyoung
Journal of controlled release 2019 v.294 pp. 311-326
carbon nanotubes, drugs, environmental factors, functional properties, graphene, micelles, pH
Noncovalent forces are of considerable importance in the formation of self-assembled drug-delivery systems. In addition to non-destructively linking the delivery vehicle and guest drug, they provide multiple advantages, including protecting the structure of the drug, maintaining its functional effects, and facilitating its release. In particular, π-π stacking interactions have potential application in a comprehensive range of biomedical and biotechnological fields. Because they do not alter structural or functional properties of drugs, π-π stacking interactions have been used as a driving force in loading drugs into delivery systems, and in the design of self-assembling systems. Moreover, since the π-π stacking force is affected by environmental conditions such as pH, it has been used to design environment-responsive drug-delivery systems. In this review, we cover features of π-π stacking interactions and their applications to the design of drug-delivery systems. Carbon nanotubes, graphene-based nanomaterials, micelles and hydrogels-all delivery systems capable of π-π stacking interactions-are the focus. We also cover π-π stacking interaction-based loading of chemicals or biological drugs into delivery systems, and controlled release of drugs from delivery systems in certain environments. In addition, we examine the in vivo barriers for π-π stacking interaction-based drug delivery, and discuss challenges for clinical applications and future directions.