Delivery of hydrophobic molecules and proteins has been an issue due to poor bioavailability following administration. Thus, micelle carrier systems are being investigated to improve drug solubility and stability. Due to problems with toxicity and immunogenicity, natural polysaccharides are being explored as substitutes for synthetic polymers in the development of new micelle systems. By grafting hydrophobic moieties to the polysaccharide backbone, self-assembled micelles can be readily formed in aqueous solution. Many polysaccharides also possess inherent bioactivity that can facilitate mucoadhesion, enhanced targeting of specific tissues, and a reduction in the inflammatory response. Furthermore, the hydrophilic nature of some polysaccharides can be exploited to enhance circulatory stability. This review will highlight the advantages of polysaccharide use in the development of drug delivery systems and will provide an overview of the polysaccharide-based micelles that have been developed to date.
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