Using liposomes to target infection and inflammation induced by foreign body injuries or medical implants

Avi Schroeder, Keren Turjeman, Josh E. Schroeder, Meir Leibergall, Yechezkel Barenholz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Importance of the field: Foreign body (FB) injuries occur under many circumstances: at work, when practising a hobby, in car accidents, or in violence-afflicted zones. Owing to the nature of these injuries, they are not restricted to a certain part of the body and may affect several organs simultaneously. In general, an FB will be surgically removed when it is a cause of pain or infection or when jeopardizing a critical biological function. However, in many cases removing the FB is not possible owing to risk of harming adjacent delicate tissue. Furthermore, often when surgically removing the FB, microscopic fragments or debris remain at the site of invasion, becoming a cause of pain and recurring infection and inflammation. FB-related complications can also originate from micro- or nanoparticles released by degradation of medical implants. The use of advanced drug delivery technologies to target the tissue surrounding the FB, or the FB itself, may be of therapeutic benefit. Liposomes, vesicles with an aqueous core entrapped in one or more lipid bilayers, are widely used as drug delivery systems. Previous studies show that nanoliposomes can effectively target infected and inflamed tissue. The working hypothesis of this paper is that nanoliposomes, of specific lipid composition, may be used to target FB under conditions of inflammation. Areas covered in this review: A comprehensive literature review regarding the use of liposomes for targeting and treating infection and inflammation, as well as a prospective on conjugates that can improve FB targeting in vivo. What the reader will gain: The article aims to assess whether nanoliposomes loaded with a therapeutic compound may be advantageous for treating FB-related pathologies. Take home message: Nanoliposomes are promising candidates for targeting FB-induced infection and inflammation. Certain properties, related to the micro-anatomy and physiology of inflammation as well as to the liposome physicochemical properties, make possible 'passive' targeting of the FB region. Conjugating specific ligands to the surface of the liposomes can improve their efficacy by adding an element of 'active' targeting. Despite the great clinical need, the use of nano-based technologies to target and treat FB-induced infection, inflammation and pain has not been exploited yet. The use of drug-loaded nanoliposomes for this application seems to be most promising and should be evaluated with high priority.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1175-1189
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Antibiotics
  • Dexamethasone
  • Foreign body
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Liposome
  • Medical device
  • Nanotechnology
  • Steroid


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