Review of Current Strategies for Delivering Alzheimer’s Disease Drugs across the Blood-Brain Barrier

Ka Hong Wong, Muhammad Kashif Riaz, Yuning Xie, Xue Zhang, Qiang Liu, Huoji Chen, Zhaoxiang Bian, Xiaoyu Chen, Aiping Lu*, Zhijun Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


Effective therapy for Alzheimer’s disease is a major challenge in the pharmaceutical sciences. There are six FDA approved drugs (e.g., donepezil, memantine) that show some effectiveness; however, they only relieve symptoms. Two factors hamper research. First, the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully understood. Second, the blood-brain barrier restricts drug efficacy. This review summarized current knowledge relevant to both of these factors. First, we reviewed the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Next, we reviewed the structural and biological properties of the blood-brain barrier. We then described the most promising drug delivery systems that have been developed in recent years; these include polymeric nanoparticles, liposomes, metallic nanoparticles and cyclodextrins. Overall, we aim to provide ideas and clues to design effective drug delivery systems for penetrating the blood-brain barrier to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number381
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

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

User-Defined Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Brain delivery
  • Cell-penetrating peptide
  • Central nervous system
  • Nanomaterials


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