Lipids and lipid-processing pathways in drug delivery and therapeutics

Milica Markovic, Shimon Ben-Shabat, Aaron Aponick, Ellen M. Zimmermann, Arik Dahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The aim of this work is to analyze relevant endogenous lipid processing pathways, in the context of the impact that lipids have on drug absorption, their therapeutic use, and utilization in drug delivery. Lipids may serve as biomarkers of some diseases, but they can also provide endogenous therapeutic effects for certain pathological conditions. Current uses and possible clinical benefits of various lipids (fatty acids, steroids, triglycerides, and phospholipids) in cancer, infectious, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases are presented. Lipids can also be conjugated to a drug molecule, accomplishing numerous potential benefits, one being the improved treatment effect, due to joined influence of the lipid carrier and the drug moiety. In addition, such conjugates have increased lipophilicity relative to the parent drug. This leads to improved drug pharmacokinetics and bioavailability, the ability to join endogenous lipid pathways and achieve drug targeting to the lymphatics, inflamed tissues in certain autoimmune diseases, or enable overcoming different barriers in the body. Altogether, novel mechanisms of the lipid role in diseases are constantly discovered, and new ways to exploit these mechanisms for the optimal drug design that would advance different drug delivery/therapy aspects are continuously emerging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3248
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Fatty acid
  • Glyceride
  • Lipid
  • Oral drug absorption
  • Phospholipase A (PLA)
  • Phospholipid
  • Prodrug
  • Steroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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