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Tunneling Nanotubes: A New Target for Nanomedicine?

1
Clinical and Experimental Medicine PhD Program, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125 Modena, Italy
2
Nanotech Lab, Te.Far.T.I., Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125 Modena, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mihai V. Putz
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(4), 2237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23042237
Received: 31 January 2022 / Revised: 14 February 2022 / Accepted: 15 February 2022 / Published: 17 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Materials and Methods 3.0)
Tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), discovered in 2004, are thin, long protrusions between cells utilized for intercellular transfer and communication. These newly discovered structures have been demonstrated to play a crucial role in homeostasis, but also in the spreading of diseases, infections, and metastases. Gaining much interest in the medical research field, TNTs have been shown to transport nanomedicines (NMeds) between cells. NMeds have been studied thanks to their advantageous features in terms of reduced toxicity of drugs, enhanced solubility, protection of the payload, prolonged release, and more interestingly, cell-targeted delivery. Nevertheless, their transfer between cells via TNTs makes their true fate unknown. If better understood, TNTs could help control NMed delivery. In fact, TNTs can represent the possibility both to improve the biodistribution of NMeds throughout a diseased tissue by increasing their formation, or to minimize their formation to block the transfer of dangerous material. To date, few studies have investigated the interaction between NMeds and TNTs. In this work, we will explain what TNTs are and how they form and then review what has been published regarding their potential use in nanomedicine research. We will highlight possible future approaches to better exploit TNT intercellular communication in the field of nanomedicine. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanomedicine; tunneling nanotubes; nanoparticles; drug exchange; therapeutic efficiency; targeted therapy nanomedicine; tunneling nanotubes; nanoparticles; drug exchange; therapeutic efficiency; targeted therapy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ottonelli, I.; Caraffi, R.; Tosi, G.; Vandelli, M.A.; Duskey, J.T.; Ruozi, B. Tunneling Nanotubes: A New Target for Nanomedicine? Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23, 2237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23042237

AMA Style

Ottonelli I, Caraffi R, Tosi G, Vandelli MA, Duskey JT, Ruozi B. Tunneling Nanotubes: A New Target for Nanomedicine? International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022; 23(4):2237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23042237

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ottonelli, Ilaria, Riccardo Caraffi, Giovanni Tosi, Maria Angela Vandelli, Jason Thomas Duskey, and Barbara Ruozi. 2022. "Tunneling Nanotubes: A New Target for Nanomedicine?" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23, no. 4: 2237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23042237

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