Susanna Sampaolesi, Francesco Nicotra, Laura Russo

Glycans have been selected by nature for both structural and ‘recognition’ purposes. Taking inspiration from nature, nanomedicine exploits glycans not only as structural constituents of nanoparticles and nanostructured biomaterials but also as selective interactors of such glyco-nanotools. Surface glycosylation of nanoparticles finds application in targeting specific cells, whereas recent findings give evidence that the glycan content of cell microenvironment is able to induce the cell fate. This review will highlight the role of glycans in nanomedicine, schematizing the different uses and roles in drug-delivery systems and in biomaterials for regenerative medicine.