Bio-Inspired Muco-Adhesive Polymers for Drug Delivery Applications

Zina Jawadi, Christine Yang, Ziyad S. Haidar*, Peter L. Santa Maria*, Solange Massa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Muco-adhesive drug delivery systems continue to be one of the most studied for controlled pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Briefly, muco-adhesive polymers, can be described as bio-polymers that adhere to the mucosal (mucus) surface layer, for an extended residency period of time at the site of application, by the help of interfacial forces resulting in improved drug delivery. When compared to traditional drug delivery systems, muco-adhesive carriers have the potential to enhance therapeutic performance and efficacy, locally and systematically, in oral, rectal, vaginal, amongst other routes. Yet, the achieving successful muco-adhesion in a novel polymeric drug delivery solution is a complex process involving key physico-chemico-mechanical parameters such as adsorption, wettability, polymer chain length, inter-penetration and cross-linking, to list a few. Hence, and in light of accruing progress, evidence and interest, during the last decade, this review aims to provide the reader with an overview of the theories, principles, properties, and underlying mechanisms of muco-adhesive polymers for pharmaceutics; from basics to design to characterization to optimization to evaluation to market. A special focus is devoted to recent advances incorporating bio-inspired polymers for designing controlled muco-adhesive drug delivery systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5459
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Issue number24
StatePublished - 13 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The corresponding author, Ziyad S. Haidar (DDS, Cert Implantol, MSc OMFS, FICS, FICD, FRCS (C), MBA, PhD), is pleased to acknowledge funding support to this work via operating grants provided to the HAiDAR R&D&I LAB/BioMAT’X I+D+i (Laboratorio de Biomateriales, Farmacéuticos y Bioingeniería de Tejidos Cráneo Máxilo-Facial), member of CiiB (Centro de Investigación e Innovación Biomédica), Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, Universidad de los Andes, Santiago de Chile, through the ANID-NAM (Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo, Chile and National Academy of Medicine, USA) Grant código # NAM 21I0022 (2020–2022), CORFO CHILE Crea y Valida I+D+i Grant código # 21 CVC2-183649 (2021–2023), CORFO CHILE Crea y Valida—Proyecto de I+D+i Colaborativo—Reactívate” Grant código # 22 CVC2-218196 (2022–2024), and FONDEF Concurso IDEA de I+D, ANID, Grant código # ID 22I1 0215 (2022–2025).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • BioPolymers
  • bioinspiration
  • drug delivery
  • mucoadhesion
  • mucoadhesive polymers


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