Edible plant-derived nanotherapeutics and nanocarriers: recent progress and future directions.
Chen N., Sun J., Zhu Z., Cribbs AP., Xiao B.
INTRODUCTION: High drug delivery efficiency, desirable therapeutic effects, and low toxicity have become crucial to develop nanotherapeutics. Natural nanoparticles (NPs) from edible plants contain a large quantity of bioactive small molecules, proteins, glycolipids, and microRNAs. The development of these NPs has rapidly attracted increasing attention due to their merits of green production, excellent biocompatibility, anti-inflammatory activities, and antitumor capacities. AREAS COVERED: Here, we introduce the extraction, purification, and construction strategies of plant-derived exosome-like NPs (PDENs) and expound on their physicochemical properties, biomedical functions, and therapeutic effects against various diseases. We also recapitulate future directions and challenges of the emerging nanotherapeutics. EXPERT OPINION: PDENs have been used as natural nanotherapeutics and nanocarriers. The challenges of applying PDENs primarily stem from the lack of understanding of the mechanisms that drive the tissue-specific targeting properties. Elucidating the underlying targeting mechanisms is one of the major focuses in this review, which helps to gain new research opportunities for the development of natural nanotherapeutics. Despite excellent biosafety and therapeutic effects in the treatment of various diseases, the medical translation of these NPs has still been limited by low yields and cold-chain dependence. Therefore, exploiting new techniques will be required for their massive production and storage.