Drosophila in Drug Delivery Systems

The development of drug delivery systems involves multidisciplinary fields. For specific drugs and diseases, it often takes several years to optimize the delivery system. Effective evaluation and screening models are useful to speed up the development of delivery systems. Drosophila has a long history of use as a model for drug delivery, providing results that can be reliably extrapolated to mammalian systems and even translated to clinical trials. Below we briefly describe the applications and prospects of Drosophila in drug delivery system development, using nano drug delivery systems (NDDS) as an example.

Background of Drosophila Drug Delivery Systems Model

Traditional drug delivery systems prone to off-target and low utilization of drugs, and novel drug delivery systems have emerged to effectively improve efficacy and reduce costs. NDDS is one of the popular new solutions.

Although NDDS has higher activity and targeting, it may exhibit higher cytotoxicity and other potential risks. Therefore, a more careful and comprehensive assessment of the toxicity and delivery modalities of nanoscale drugs is needed during the development process. It has been demonstrated that Drosophila responds to drug particles similarly to that observed in mammalian models. Thus it can be used to assess the effectiveness of different delivery systems or to understand their molecular mechanisms.

Drosophila Application in Drug Delivery Systems

The Drosophila drug delivery assessment models can effectively improve the speed of drug delivery development from the cellular, tissue and organ levels, and screen for low toxicity, high compatibility and highly targeted drug delivery modalities, in order to promote the modification and optimization of the drug itself and the carrier. Currently, Drosophila models have been used for the evaluation of a variety of nano-delivery systems, including organic, inorganic, and composite nanomaterials.

A toxicity assessment of nanoparticles on development and behavior of Drosophila melanogasterFig.1 A toxicity assessment of nanoparticles on development and behavior of Drosophila melanogaster (Pappus et al. 2017)
  • Biocompatibility & Targeting of Drug Delivery Systems

Drosophila and vertebrates exhibit a high degree of genetic and functional similarity that can be used to rapidly determine the biocompatibility and targeting of drug delivery systems. The Drosophila model was used to determine the biocompatibility of organically modified silica (ORMOSIL) NPs. ORMOSIL successfully crossed the Drosophila brain, even after prolonged exposure, without toxic damage. This indicated that they had a good potential in diagnostic imaging and brain drug delivery. In addition, the D. melanogaster model was used to assess the effects of nano-alumina on the central nervous system.

  • Low Toxicity & High Permeability of Drug Delivery Systems

The Drosophila model can be used to rapidly develop drug delivery systems with low toxicity and high permeability by assessing the effect on cellular physiology, behavior, sensitivity to adult sex and other pharmacokinetics parameters. For example, the p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) conjugates was identified as an oral drug delivery system in the D. melanogaster model. These organic nanocomposites can cross the Drosophila cell membrane barrier into the cytoplasm by energy-dependent endocytosis. Furthermore, the nanomaterials carrying C11 and C16 acid side chains are best suited for entry into cells and multiple organs through these models.

  • Drug Delivery Systems of Gene Therapy Drugs

The Drosophila model can also be used to evaluate delivery systems for gene therapy drugs. For example, free plasmid DNA containing linear polyethyleneimine-based nanoparticles was more effective in D. melanogaster germline transformation techniques at a DNA concentration of 0.04 g/L.

Advantages of Drosophila in Drug Delivery Systems

Drosophila serves as a cost-effective and reliable model for in vivo evaluation of NDDS. It has application potential for selecting the right delivery systems and therapeutic combinations for specific biomedical applications.

Multiple Exposure Routes - Can be used to evaluate drug delivery by injection, inhalation and oral administration.

All Developmental Stages Available - Can be used to evaluate the effects of different drug delivery systems on behavior and development.

Multi-Therapy Development - Can be used to develop single and combination drug delivery systems for complex diseases and facilitate drug reuse.

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  • Chifiriuc MC, et al. (2016). Drosophotoxicology: an emerging research area for assessing nanoparticles interaction with living organisms. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(2), 36.
  • Pappus SA, et al. (2017). A toxicity assessment of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles on development and behaviour of Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 19(4), 136.

For research use only. Not intended for any clinical use.

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