Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 1–11 | Cite as

Liposomes as delivery systems in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases

  • Joep J. Bergers
  • Timo L. M. ten Hagen
  • Els W. M. van Etten
  • Irma A. J. M. Bakker-Woudenberg


Research on the potential application of liposomes in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases has focussed on improvement of the therapeutic index of antimicrobial drugs and immunomodulators and on stimulation of the immune response to otherwise weak antigens in vaccines composed of purified micro-organism subunits. In this review current approaches in this field are outlined. The improved therapeutic index of antimicrobial drugs after encapsulation in liposomes is a result of enhanced drug delivery to infected tissue or infected cells and/or a reduction of drug toxicity of potentially toxic antibiotics. Liposomal encapsulation of immunomodulators that activate macrophages aims at reducing the toxicity of these agents and targeting them to the cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system in order to increase the nonspecific resistance of the host against infections. Studies on the immunogenicity of liposomal antigens have demonstrated that liposomes can potentiate the humoral and cell mediated immunity to a variety of antigens.


Antibiotics Antifungal agents Antigens Antiprotozoal agents Antiviral agents Drug delivery Infection Liposomes Vaccines 


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Copyright information

© Royal Dutch Association for Advancement of Pharmacy 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joep J. Bergers
    • 1
  • Timo L. M. ten Hagen
    • 2
  • Els W. M. van Etten
    • 2
  • Irma A. J. M. Bakker-Woudenberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biologicals, Laboratory for Medicines and Medical DevicesNational Institute of Public Health and Environmental ProtectionBA BilthovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Clinical MicrobiologyErasmus University RotterdamThe Netherlands

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