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Liposomes in Hormone Drug Carriers

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Liposomes are nanoscale carriers of drugs or active ingredients and are known as the "biological missiles" of the fourth generation of targeted drug delivery technology. Because of its biodegradability, low immunogenicity and altered distribution of drugs in the body, it can concentrate the release of drugs in diseased tissues, improving drug efficacy and reducing toxicity and adverse effects on normal tissues. It has been widely used as a drug carrier.

Hormonal drugs are favoured by clinicians because they are highly biocompatible with the body and can be effective in achieving therapeutic goals in a relatively short period of time. However, hormones also have extremely pronounced side effects. They can significantly interfere with the normal physiological state of the body, which severely limits the clinical use of hormonal drugs. The use of liposomes as drug carriers can address this disadvantage very well.


The application of liposomes in hormone drug carriers has two main advantages.

  • Enhanced stability
  • Prevention of hormonal drug-induced physiological disorders in the organism


1. Anti-inflammatory steroid hormones have significant advantages when encapsulated in human liposomes.

  • Concentration at the site of inflammation and easy engulfment by phagocytes
  • Prevent free drug from interacting with plasma proteins

Thus, once it reaches the site of inflammation, it can be endocytosed and fused to release the drug and can be effective at a lower dose, thus reducing the complications and side effects of steroid hormones caused by overdose. Promising results have been achieved in the research and application of hydrocortisone and prednisone.

2. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and its analogues play an important role in hormone-dependent cancers, contraception and endocrine dysfunction. However, the rapid metabolism and elimination of these peptide hormones in the circulation and their failure limits their clinical use. Sheffer et al. used liposomes to encapsulate GnRH, effectively avoiding its enzymatic inactivation, and demonstrated that L-GnRH has a slow-release effect and can remain in the bloodstream for a longer period of time to exert its therapeutic effect.

3. In addition, liposomes can be used as drug carriers for growth hormones, androgens and glucocorticoids to reduce the off-target effects and side effects of hormones.

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