Engineering macromolecular nanocarriers for local delivery of gaseous signaling molecules

Jinming Hu, Yuanmeng Fang, Xumin Huang, Ruirui Qiao, John F. Quinn, Thomas P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In addition to being notorious air pollutants, nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) have also been known as endogenous gaseous signaling molecules (GSMs). These GSMs play critical roles in maintaining the homeostasis of living organisms. Importantly, the occurrence and development of many diseases such as inflammation and cancer are highly associated with the concentration changes of GSMs. As such, GSMs could also be used as new therapeutic agents, showing great potential in the treatment of many formidable diseases. Although clinically it is possible to directly inhale GSMs, the precise control of the dose and concentration for local delivery of GSMs remains a substantial challenge. The development of gaseous signaling molecule-releasing molecules provides a great tool for the safe and convenient delivery of GSMs. In this review article, we primarily focus on the recent development of macromolecular nanocarriers for the local delivery of various GSMs. Learning from the chemistry of small molecule-based donors, the integration of these gaseous signaling molecule-releasing molecules into polymeric matrices through physical encapsulation, post-modification, or direct polymerization approach renders it possible to fabricate numerous macromolecular nanocarriers with optimized pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, revealing improved therapeutic performance than the small molecule analogs. The development of GSMs represents a new means for many disease treatments with unique therapeutic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114005
Number of pages21
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Gaseous signaling molecules
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Nanocarriers
  • Nitric oxide

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