Mechanism of action: How nano-antimicrobials act?

Bushra Jamil, Habib Bokhari, Mohammad Imran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Escalating resistance to almost every class of antibiotics is reducing the utility of currently available antimicrobial drugs. A part of this menace is attributed to poor pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the drug. Improvement in drug delivery is the most challenging task encountered by the pharmaceutical industries; however nanotechnology can bring a revolution in drug delivery design. Nano-antimicrobials (NAMs) have their own intrinsic antimicrobial activity (nanoparticles) or augment overall efficacy of enclosed antibiotics (nano-carriers), thus contribute in mitigating or reversing the resistance phenomenon. Nano-particles (NPs) having their own intrinsic antimicrobial activity kill microbes by mimicking natural course of killing by phagocytic cells i.e., by producing large quantity of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS). It is believed that NPs kill microbes by simultaneously acting on many essential life processes or metabolic routes of microbes; that as many genetic mutations to develop resistance against them seems to be impossible. Nano carriers improve the pharmacokinetics of the enclosed drug. Moreover, one of the major techniques by which NAMs can overcome resistance is targeted drug delivery to the site of disease. In this review, a comprehensive detail about the mechanism of action of NAMs are presented in context to multi drug resistance phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-373
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Drug Targets
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Mode of action
  • Multi drug resistance
  • Nano carrier systems
  • Nano-antibiotics
  • Nanoparticles
  • Reactive nitrogen species (RNS)
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)


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