Exploring the Potential of Aptamers in Targeting Neuroinflammation and Neurodegenerative Disorders: Opportunities and Challenges

Anna Hau Yee Kong, Aston Jiaxi Wu, Olivia Ka Yi Ho, Maggie Ming Ki Leung, Alexis Shiying Huang, Yuanyuan Yu, Ge Zhang, Aiping Lyu, Min Li, King Ho Cheung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Neuroinflammation is the precursor for several neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs), such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and multiple sclerosis (MS). Targeting neuroinflammation has emerged as a promising strategy to address a wide range of CNS pathologies. These NDDs still present significant challenges in terms of limited and ineffective diagnosis and treatment options, driving the need to explore innovative and novel therapeutic alternatives. Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids that offer the potential for addressing these challenges through diagnostic and therapeutic applications. In this review, we summarize diagnostic and therapeutic aptamers for inflammatory biomolecules, as well as the inflammatory cells in NDDs. We also discussed the potential of short nucleotides for Aptamer-Based Targeted Brain Delivery through their unique features and modifications, as well as their ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Moreover, the unprecedented opportunities and substantial challenges of using aptamers as therapeutic agents, such as drug efficacy, safety considerations, and pharmacokinetics, are also discussed. Taken together, this review assesses the potential of aptamers as a pioneering approach for target delivery to the CNS and the treatment of neuroinflammation and NDDs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11780
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • aptamer
  • neuroinflammation
  • neurodegeneration
  • alzheimer’s disease
  • parkinson’s disease
  • microglia


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