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Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2013 Feb;10(2):215-28. doi: 10.1517/17425247.2013.744964. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Novel polyethylenimine-derived nanoparticles for in vivo gene delivery.

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  • 1CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, M.G. Marg, Lucknow, 226 001, India.



Branched and linear polyethylenimines (PEIs) are cationic polymers that have been used to deliver nucleic acids both in vitro and in vivo. Owing to the high cationic charge, the branched polymers exhibit high transfection efficiency, and particularly PEI of molecular weight 25 kDa is considered as a gold standard in gene delivery. These polymers have been extensively studied and modified with different ligands so as to achieve the targeted delivery.


The application of PEI in vivo promises to take the polymer-based vector to the next level wherein it can undergo clinical trials and subsequently could be used for delivery of therapeutics in humans. This review focuses on the various recent developments that have been made in the field of PEI-based delivery vectors for delivery of therapeutics in vivo.


The efficacy of PEI-based delivery vectors in vivo is significantly high and animal studies demonstrate that such systems have a potential in humans. However, we feel that though PEI is a promising vector, further studies involving PEI in animal models are needed so as to get a detailed toxicity profile of these vectors. Also, it is imperative that the vector reaches the specific organ causing little or no undesirable effects to other organs.

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