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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Carbohydrate‐based nanomaterials for biomedical applications

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Carbohydrates are abundant biomolecules, with a strong tendency to form supramolecular networks. A host of carbohydrate‐based nanomaterials have been exploited for biomedical applications. These structures are based on simple mono‐ or disaccharides, as well as on complex, polymeric systems. Chemical modifications serve to tune the shapes and properties of these materials. In particular, carbohydrate‐based nanoparticles and nanogels were used for drug delivery, imaging, and tissue engineering applications. Due to the reversible nature of the assembly, often based on a combination of hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions, carbohydrate‐based materials are valuable substrates for the creations of responsive systems. Herein, we review the current research on carbohydrate‐based nanomaterials, with a particular focus on carbohydrate assembly. We will discuss how these systems are formed and how their properties are tuned. Particular emphasis will be placed on the use of carbohydrates for biomedical applications. This article is categorized under: Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Nanoscale Systems in Biology.
Schematic representation of the different classes of carbohydrates used to form nanomaterials for biomedical applications
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GAGs‐based materials and their biomedical applications. GAG, glycosaminoglycan
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Structures of most common GAGs. GAG, glycosaminoglycan
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Chitosan nanoparticles for insulin delivery. (a) pH‐responsive nanoparticles shield with chitosan for oral delivery (Reprinted with permission from Sung et al. (). Copyright 2012 American Chemical Society). (b) Multilayered nanoparticles (left) and vesicles (right) encapsulating insulin with coassembly of chitosan and lecithin (Reprinted with permission from L. Liu et al. (). Copyright 2016 Dove Medical Press Limited)
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Chitin and its deacetylated analogue chitosan
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Cartoon depiction of the most common dextran modifications
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Co‐assembly of CMC to form nanomaterials. CMC, carbohymethylcellulose
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Chemical structure of cellulose and its most common derivatives
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CD packing patterns, common CD modifications, and examples of CD systems for drug delivery applications. CD, cyclodextrins
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Chemical structures and supramolecular assembly of monosaccharides amphiphiles
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