Because of its natural source and high biocompatibility, starch has drawn much attention in the advance of drug delivery systems (DDSs) as carrier materials. Yet, to functionalize starch to meet the material needs of smart and well-performed DDSs, starch has to be modified by numerous chemical methods, which may hamper its biocompatibility and biodegradability. Thus, it is vital to evaluate the toxicology of starch-based DDSs for its clinical application. Generally, starch-based DDSs could guarantee high biocompatibility and biodegradation. In most cases, the cellular toxicity of starch-based nanoparticulate carriers showed none or low toxicity and good compatibility with normal cells. However, in particular situations, a significant level of cytotoxicity of starch-based DDSs still exist. The toxicity of starch-based DDSs was found to be dosage-dependent, be related to the physicochemical properties such as size, charge, shape, molecular mass (M), composition, and chemical properties. Moreover, the addition of inorganic materials may bring cytotoxicity to starch-based DDSs, and its content is vital for its potential cytotoxicity. Thus, much effort is needed to create safer starch-based DDSs, despite the fact that starch still has a huge advantage over synthesized polymers in the application of drug delivery.
Starch-based carrier material Biocompatibility Biodegradability Dosage-dependent toxicity Chemical composition Surface hydrophobicity Surface charge
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1.Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Green Processing of Natural Products and Product Safety, School of Food Science and Engineering, Ministry of Education Engineering Research Center of Starch and Protein ProcessingSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
2.International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM), WMGUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK