Peptides and proteins used to enhance gold nanoparticle delivery to the brain: Preclinical approaches

Carolina Velasco-Aguirre, Francisco Morales, Eduardo Gallardo-Toledo, Simon Guerrero, Ernest Giralt, Eyleen Araya, Marcelo J. Kogan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


An exciting and emerging field in nanomedicine involves the use of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in the preclinical development of new strategies for the treatment and diagnosis of brain-related diseases such as neurodegeneration and cerebral tumors. The treatment of many brain-related disorders with AuNPs, which possess useful physical properties, is limited by the blood–brain barrier (BBB). The BBB highly regulates the substances that can permeate into the brain. Peptides and proteins may represent promising tools to improve the delivery of AuNPs to the central nervous system (CNS). In this review, we summarize the potential applications of AuNPs to CNS disorders, discuss different strategies based on the use of peptides or proteins to improve the delivery of AuNPs to the brain, and examine the intranasal administration route, which bypasses the BBB. We also analyze the potential neurotoxicity of AuNPs and the perspectives and new challenges concerning the use of peptides and proteins to enhance the delivery of AuNPs to the brain. The majority of the work described in this review is in a preclinical stage of experimentation, or in select cases, in clinical trials in humans. We note that the use of AuNPs still requires substantial study before being translated into human applications. However, for further clinical research, the issues related to the potential use of AuNPs must be analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4919-4936
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2015


  • Biodistribution
  • Blood–brain barrier
  • Central nervous system
  • Drug delivery
  • EPR effect
  • Transcytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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