Drug Delivery Systems Based on Pullulan Polysaccharides and Their Derivatives

  • Anca Giorgiana GrigorasEmail author
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 26)


The remarkable physical and chemical properties of pullulan, especially the biodegradability, biocompatibility, and nontoxicity, have been exploited in the past few decades and adapted in order to design more efficient drug delivery systems. This polysaccharide itself and its derivatives, which possess more reactive functional groups generated by functionalization of pullulan, were able to form conjugates or complexes with a variety of drugs, especially with hydrophobic drugs. By modulating the hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance in the support macromolecule structure and favoring various types of physical interactions between drug and carrier, the researchers attempted to optimize the charging and subsequent transport of drugs to target cells such as liver cell receptors or cancer cells.

In this chapter, beside the pullulan-based systems with antibacterial, antifungal, antitumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antilipidemic, or antiglycemic properties, other pharmaceutical formulations potentially useful to treat heart or bone diseases were reviewed. All studies highlighted the versatility of pullulan derivatives to form micelles, films, hydrogels, microparticles, and nanoparticles. Also, the results from in vivo and in vitro tests of cytotoxicity and the profiles of drug release from these carriers were encouraging such that the usage of pullulan polysaccharides for the future medical applications remains an open field.


Pullulan Drug delivery systems Micelles Nanoparticles Microparticles Conjugates Films Hydrogels Pharmaceutical formulations Antimicrobial Antitumor Antioxidant Anti-inflammatory Antilipidemic Antiglycemic Heart diseases Bone diseases 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Natural Polymers, Bioactive and Biocompatible Materials“Petru Poni” Institute of Macromolecular ChemistryIassyRomania

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