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Biomaterials. 2008 Nov;29(32):4348-55. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.07.036. Epub 2008 Aug 19.

Self-assembled biodegradable micellar nanoparticles of amphiphilic and cationic block copolymer for siRNA delivery.

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  • 1Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230027, PR China.


A novel amphiphilic and cationic triblock copolymer consisting of monomethoxy poly(ethylene glycol), poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(2-aminoethyl ethylene phosphate) denoted as mPEG(45)-b-PCL(100)-b-PPEEA(12) was designed and synthesized for siRNA delivery. The copolymers were well characterized by (1)H NMR spectroscopy and gel permeation chromatography. Micelle nanoparticles' (MNPs) formation of this amphiphilic copolymer in aqueous solution was studied by dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy and fluorescence technique. MNPs took uniform spherical morphology with zeta potential of around 45 mV and were stabilized by hydrophobic-hydrophobic interaction in the PCL core, exhibiting the critical micelle concentration at 2.7 x 10(-3) mg/mL. Such MNPs allowed siRNA loading post nanoparticle formation without change in uniformity. The average diameter of nanoparticles after siRNA binding ranged from 98 to 125 nm depending on N/P ratios. The siRNA loaded nanoparticles can be effectively internalized and subsequently release siRNA in HEK293 cells, resulting in significant gene knockdown activities, which was demonstrated by delivering two siRNAs targeting green fluorescence protein (GFP). It effectively silenced GFP expression in 40-70% GFP-expressed HEK293 cells and it was observed that higher N/P ratio resulted in more effective silence which was likely due to better cell internalization at higher N/P ratio. MTT assay demonstrated that neither MNPs themselves nor siRNA loaded MNPs showed cytotoxicity even at high concentrations. Such cationic MNPs made from biocompatible and biodegradable polymers are promising for siRNA delivery.

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