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FEBS Lett. 2003 Mar 13;538(1-3):149-54.

Nucleoporation of dendritic cells: efficient gene transfer by electroporation into human monocyte-derived dendritic cells.

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Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are ideal accessory cells in the developing field of gene therapy. Although viral transfection of DCs has become widespread, non-viral transfection of DCs has shown disappointing results. Recently, a new technique for transfecting primary cells has become available -- the Amaxa Nucleofector. Here, we describe the use of this device in the successful non-viral transfection of human monocyte-derived DCs. Using enhanced green fluorescent protein as a reporter gene DCs were transfectable with efficiencies approaching 60%, remaining responsive to lipopolysaccharide-stimulated cytokine production in short-term experiments (though long-term functional assays were hampered by loss of viability). Although these data demonstrate the ease and efficiency with which human monocyte-derived DCs can now be non-virally transfected, they also suggest the limitations of this technology due to the gradual loss of cell viability. The potential use of this system in the development of DC-based cell and gene therapies will be hampered until cell viability can be maintained.

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