Advances in the treatment of atherosclerosis with ligand-modified nanocarriers

Overview diagram of targeted ligand-modified nanomedicines for the treatment of atherosclerosis. Ligand-modified nanoparticles targeting specific atherosclerosis receptors at each pathological stage from monocyte recruitment, macrophage polarisation and foam cell formation, vascular smooth muscle cell phenotypic transformation, and vulnerable plaque formation, opening up ideas for the design of atherosclerosis-targeted nanomedicines.


Atherosclerosis, a chronic disease associated with metabolism, poses a significant risk to human well-being. Currently, existing treatments for atherosclerosis lack sufficient efficiency, while the utilization of surface-modified nanoparticles holds the potential to deliver highly effective therapeutic outcomes. These nanoparticles can target and bind to specific receptors that are abnormally over-expressed in atherosclerotic conditions. This paper reviews recent research (2018–present) advances in various ligand-modified nanoparticle systems targeting atherosclerosis by specifically targeting signature molecules in the hope of precise treatment at the molecular level and concludes with a discussion of the challenges and prospects in this field. The intention of this review is to inspire novel concepts for the design and advancement of targeted nanomedicines tailored specifically for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

Author list:

Xiujiao Deng†, Jinghao Wang†*, Shanshan Yu†, Suiyi Tan, Tingting Yu, Qiaxin Xu, Nenghua Chen, Siqi Zhang, Ming-Rong Zhang, Kuan Hu*, Zeyu Xiao*

How to cite:

X. Deng, J. Wang, S. Yu, S. Tan, T. Yu, Q. Xu, N. Chen, S. Zhang, M.-R. Zhang, K. Hu, Z. Xiao, Exploration 2023, 20230090.