Self-assembled peptides have been shown to form well-defined nanostructures which display
outstanding characteristics for many biomedical applications and especially in controlled drug
delivery. Such biomaterials are becoming increasingly popular due to routine, standardized methods of
synthesis, high biocompatibility, biodegradability and ease of upscale. Moreover, one can modify the
structure at the molecular level to form various nanostructures with a wide range of applications in the
field of medicine. Through environmental modifications such as changes in pH and ionic strength and
the introduction of enzymes or light, it is possible to trigger self-assembly and design a host of different
self-assembled nanostructures. The resulting nanostructures include nanotubes, nanofibers, hydrogels
and nanovesicles which all display a diverse range of physico-chemical and mechanical properties.
Depending on their design, peptide self-assembling nanostructures can be manufactured with improved
biocompatibility and in vivo stability and the ability to encapsulate drugs with the capacity for
sustained drug delivery. These molecules can act as carriers for drug molecules to ferry cargo intracellularly
and respond to stimuli changes for both hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs. This review explores
the types of self-assembling nanostructures, the effects of external stimuli on and the mechanisms
behind the assembly process, and applications for such technology in drug delivery.
Keywords: Peptide, nanomaterials, self-assembly, stimuli, mechanism, drug delivery.
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