Various strategies for the use of zein for controlled drug release have been investigated and
reported in the literature, especially engineering strategies for using zein conjugates to enhance oral
bioavailability and targeted delivery, which has attracted interest in recent research. Although still limited,
the ability to fabricate self-assembling nanoparticles loaded with molecules of interest offering
functional groups for potential conjugation could yield zein-based conjugates with promise as materials
for drug delivery. In the current review, recent studies on zein-based conjugates with outstanding
features are discussed based on the various types of conjugation. The key physicochemical characterization
methods for the chemical conjugation and identification of zein are also summarized. Further
opportunities to develop zein-based materials through conjugation will provide promising alternative
formulations for a number of drug candidates.
Keywords: Conjugate, zein, controlled drug release, self-assembled nanoparticle, targeting.
Tran TTD, Tran PHL. Nanoconjugation and encapsulation strategies for improving drug delivery and therapeutic efficacy of poorly water-soluble drugs. Pharmaceutics 2019; 11(7): 325.
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