In the last decades, different theories have been attempted to describe the pharmacokinetic profiles of nanosized drug delivery systems, namely, liposomes and polymeric nanoparticles. It is now recognised that long circulating nanocarriers, “stealth” systems, can be obtained by surface coating with hydrophilic polymers that prevent the opsonisation process [17–19]. The consequence of avoiding opsonisation is the prolongation of the liposome and particle permanence in the bloodstream from few seconds to several hours [17, 20, 21]. Peppas described the effect of the hydrophilic polymer shell on nanoparticle surface in terms of elastic forces. He focused the attention on PEG that is the most representative Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical of the materials used to produce
stealth nanocarriers. According to their hydrophilic and flexible nature, the PEG chains can acquire an extended conformation on particle surface. Opsonins attracted to the particle surface compress the extended PEG chains that shift to a Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical more condensed and higher energy conformation. As a consequence, the repulsive forces counterbalance Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical the attractive forces between opsonins and the particle surface . At low polymer density on the particle surface, when the polymer chains cannot interact with the surrounding chains and may freely collapse on the surface, the polymer chains
provide for steric repulsion at a distance h according to the equation Fstm=(kT)(D2hc)(hc/h)8/3. (1) In the equation Fstmis the steric repulsive force referred to the “mushroom” model (m), hc is the extension of a polymer above the surface = Na(a/D)2/3, D is the average distance between adjacent grafting points, a is the size of the segment, and N is the degree of polymerization. At high polymer densities, the polymer chains extend and interact with each other Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical exerting the steric repulsive force Fstbr referred to the “brush” model (br): Fstbr=(kT)D3[(hc/h)9/4−(h/hc)3/4]. (2) These equations describe repulsive phenomena occurring on flat surfaces. However, they can be properly elaborated to gain information about repulsive Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical steric barriers endowed by adsorbed polymers on curved surfaces of
stealth nanoparticles . 2.2. Polymers all Used to Coat Nanocarriers Long circulating nanocarriers are usually obtained by polymer surface coating that endows systems with stealth properties . In drug delivery, the term “stealth,” translated from the “low observable technology” applied to military tactics, refers to nanovehicles that are invisible to the biological system involved in clearance of particle from the bloodstream, namely, RES and see more Kupffer cells. So far, many efforts have been done to yield stealth products by modification of the surface properties of nanocarriers with polymers that prevent opsonin interactions  and subsequent phagocyte clearance [26–28]. The polymers used to confer stealth properties to nanoparticles and nanovesicles have few basic common features: high flexibility and high hydrophilicity.