Targeting the lymphatics using denritic polymers (dendrimers)

Lisa Kaminskas, Christopher Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Dendrimers are unique biomaterials that are constructed by the stepwise addition of layers (generations) of polymer around a central core. They can be constructed with a range of molecular weights and have a polyfunctional surface that facilitates the attachment of drugs and pharmacokinetic modifiers such PEG or targeting moieties. These properties have led to considerable interest in the development of dendrimers for a range of biomedical applications. After subcutaneous administration, larger dendrimers in particular (> 8 nm), preferentially drain from the injection site into the peripheral lymphatic capillaries and therefore have potential as lymphatic imaging agents for magnetic resonance and optical fluorescence lymphangiography and as vectors for drug-targeting to lymphatic sites of disease progression. In general, lymphatic targeting of dendrimers is enhanced by increasing size although ultimately larger constructs may be incompletely absorbed from the injection site. Increasing hydrophilicity and reducing surface charge enhances drainage from subcutaneous injection sites, but the reverse is true of uptake into lymph nodes where charge and hydrophobicity promote retention. Larger hydrophilic dendrimers are also capable of extravasation from the systemic circulation, absorption into the lymphatic system and recirculation into the blood. Lymphatic recirculation may therefore be a characteristic of PEGylated dendrimers with long systemic circulation times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890 - 900
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Issue number10-11
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this