The multirole of liposomes in therapy and prevention of infectious diseases

Roberto Nisini, Sabrina Mariotti, Noemi Poerio, Federica De Santis, Maurizio Fraziano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Liposomes are closed bilayer structures spontaneously formed by hydrated phospholipids that are widely used as efficient delivery systems for drugs or antigens, due to their capability to encapsulate bioactive hydrophilic, amphipathic, and lipophilic molecules into inner water phase or within lipid leaflets. The efficacy of liposomes as drug or antigen carriers has been improved in the last years to ameliorate pharmacokinetics and capacity to release their cargo in selected target organs or cells. Moreover, different formulations and variations in liposome composition have been often proposed to include immunostimulatory molecules, ligands for specific receptors, or stimuli responsive compounds. Intriguingly, independent research has unveiled the capacity of several phospholipids to play critical roles as intracellular messengers in modulating both innate and adaptive immune responses through various mechanisms, including (i) activation of different antimicrobial enzymatic pathways, (ii) driving the fusion-fission events between endosomes with direct consequences to phagosome maturation and/or to antigen presentation pathway, and (iii) modulation of the inflammatory response. These features can be exploited by including selected bioactive phospholipids in the bilayer scaffold of liposomes. This would represent an important step forward since drug or antigen carrying liposomes could be engineered to simultaneously activate different signal transduction pathways and target specific cells or tissues to induce antigen-specific T and/or B cell response. This lipid-based host-directed strategy can provide a focused antimicrobial innate and adaptive immune response against specific pathogens and offer a novel prophylactic or therapeutic option against chronic, recurrent, or drug-resistant infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - Feb 5 2018


  • Adjuvant
  • Drug
  • Immunomodulation
  • Immunotherapy
  • Infectious disease
  • Liposome
  • Therapy
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'The multirole of liposomes in therapy and prevention of infectious diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this