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J Control Release. 2001 Mar 12;71(1):39-51.

In vitro uptake of polystyrene microspheres: effect of particle size, cell line and cell density.

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Cobra Therapeutics Ltd., The Science Park, Staffordshire, ST5 5SP, Keele, UK.


Uptake of polycation-DNA particles is the first step in achieving gene delivery with non-viral vehicles. One of the important characteristics determining uptake of DNA particles is their size. Here we have characterized the ability of several cell lines to internalise labelled polystyrene microspheres of different sizes. All the cell lines tested ingested 20-nm microspheres avidly. With larger microspheres (93, 220, 560 and 1010 nm) cell type as well as growth related differences were observed. Whereas some cell lines (HUVEC, ECV 304 and HNX 14C) took up microspheres up to 1010 nm even when the cells were confluent, others did not take up many microspheres larger than 93 nm (Hepa 1-6 and HepG2). In one cell line (KLN 205), uptake of 93-, 220- and 560-nm microspheres was avid in growing cells, but not detectable when they were confluent. In KLN 205 cells, a good correlation was found between the uptake of 560-nm microspheres and the uptake of a peptide-DNA polyplex formulation, when it was prepared under conditions leading to small particle sizes. Little correlation was found when the polyplex formulation was allowed to aggregate.

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