Emerging insights on drug delivery by fatty acid mediated synthesis of lipophilic prodrugs as novel nanomedicines

Many drug molecules that are currently in the market suffer from short half-life, poor absorption, low specificity, rapid degradation, and resistance development. The design and development of lipophilic prodrugs can provide numerous benefits to overcome these challenges. Fatty acids (FAs), which are lipophilic biomolecules constituted of essential components of the living cells, carry out many necessary functions required for the development of efficient prodrugs.

Chemical conjugation of FAs to drug molecules may change their pharmacodynamics/pharmacokinetics in vivo and even their toxicity profile. Well–designed FA-based prodrugs can also present other benefits, such as improved oral bioavailability, promoted tumor targeting efficiency, controlled drug release, and enhanced cellular penetration, leading to improved therapeutic efficacy. In this review, we discuss diverse drug molecules conjugated to various unsaturated FAs. Furthermore, various drug-FA conjugates loaded into various nanostructure delivery systems, including liposomes, solid lipid nanoparticles, emulsions, nano-assemblies, micelles, and polymeric nanoparticles are reviewed. The present review, aims to inspire readers to explore new avenues in prodrug design based on the various FAs with or without nanostructured delivery systems.


Fatty acid is a promising platform in the development of various prodrugs.
Fatty acid-based prodrugs can improve biological properties of parent drugs.
Ester and amide bonds are the most commonly used bonds to form fatty acid-drug conjugates.
Fatty acid-based prodrugs can generate nano-DDSs with higher loading capacity.

Author links open overlay panel

See the article

Nadia Fattahi, Mohammad-Ali Shahbazi, Aziz Maleki, Mehrdad Hamidi, Ali Ramazani, Hélder A.Santos
Journal of Controlled Release, Available online 26 July 2020

You might also like