Abstract The goal of this study was to evaluate the potential of albumin nanoparticles as a delivery system for antisense oligonucleotides. Nanoparticles were prepared by a coacervation process and cross-linkage with glutaraldehyde. Phosphodiester (PO) and phosphorotioate (PS) oligonucleotides were either adsorbed on the surface of nanoparticles (PO-NPA and PS-NPA) or incorporated in the nanoparticle matrix (PO-NPB and PS-NPB). When PO-loaded nanoparticles were incubated with phosphodiesterase, only NPB was able to keep the oligonucleotide hybridization capability for at least 60 min. The antiviral activity was evaluated in MRC-5 fibroblasts infected with human cytomegalovirus at a MOI of 0.0035. Both PO nanoparticle formulations significantly increased the antiviral activity of free PO ( P<0.001) and NPB showed slightly higher efficacies than NPA ( P<0.05). On the other hand, PS exhibited significant higher activity than free PO ( P<0.001), however, no significant differences were found between PS-nanoparticle and PO-nanoparticle formulations. These findings were well correlated with the intracellular distribution observed for fluorescent oligonucleotide-loaded albumin nanoparticles. Even these carriers delayed and decreased the uptake of PO by MRC-5 cells, they finally induced a diffused cytoplasmic distribution and major nuclear accumulation. In summary, albumin nanoparticles partially protected a PO against enzymatic degradation and improved their presence in the nucleus and thus, increased its efficiency.