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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Dendrimers—revolutionary drugs for infectious diseases

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Abstract Over recent years innovative nanomolecules in a form of dendrimers have been gaining increasing interest. These compounds can be designed and modified in many ways giving a molecule which meets required expectations. For this reason dendrimers are the object of intensive studies in many fields of nanoscience including one of the most thriving—biomedicine. Numerous studies provide evidence that some dendrimers exhibit activities against many species/strains of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and prions. These types of dendritic nanostructures which are distinguished by antipathogenic properties and low cytotoxicity to eukaryotic cells may be potentially applied in medicine as novel drugs for various infectious diseases, especially those which are persistent, marked by high mortality rate, or untreatable. Dendrimers can exert their effect via different mechanisms of action, which are, in most cases, related to multivalency of the nanomolecule. The application of dendrimers is likely to be a breakthrough in prevention and treatment of infectious diseases which still beset humanity and may significantly improve the quality of people's life. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2012, 4:469–491. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1181 This article is categorized under: Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Infectious Disease

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Polyamidoamine (PAMAM) G3 as a representation of a typical dendrimer structure.

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New antibacterial G1 dendrimers possessing tris‐amino acids (a) or tetrakis‐amino alcohols (b) as core compounds.

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Trifunctional and hexafunctional‐cored phosphorus dendrimers surface‐modified with an analogue of natural galactosylceramide (GalCer).

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The chemical structure of SPL7013 dendrimer.

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Schematic representation of fan, ball, and dumbbell‐shaped carbosilane dendrimers.

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Strategies of inhibition of viral and bacterial infections using dendrimers. The invasion of the cell by viruses can be prevented by dendrimers which coat viral envelope receptors and thereby make interactions with the host cell impossible. Another mechanism consists in the blockage of host cell receptors by dendrimers which precludes attachment of viral particles to this cell. The inhibition of bacterial (and also fungal) infections is based on electrostatic interactions between positively charged groups of dendrimers and the negatively charged bacterial (or fungal) membrane which results in its disintegration and release of cell content. C, capsule; CM, cell membrane; CW, cell wall; D, dendrimer; V, virus.

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Chemical structure of N‐acetylneuraminic (sialic) acid.

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Chemical structure of the phosphorus dendrimer G2.

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Chemical structure of the carbosilane dendrimer G3.

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Chemical structure of the poly‐l‐lysine dendrimer G3.

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Chemical structure of the polypropyleneimine dendrimer G3.

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