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Gene Ther. 2003 Apr;10(7):585-93.

Water-soluble lipopolymer as an efficient carrier for gene delivery to myocardium.

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Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Center for Controlled Chemical Delivery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


Water-soluble lipopolymer (WSLP), which consisted of polyethylenimine (PEI, 1800 Da) and cholesterol, was characterized as a gene carrier to smooth muscle cells and myocardium. Acid-base titration showed that WSLP had a proton-buffering effect. The size of WSLP/plasmid DNA (pDNA) complex was around 70 nm. WSLP/pDNA complex was transfected to A7R5 cells, a smooth muscle cell line. WSLP showed the highest transfection at a 40/1 N/P ratio. WSLP has higher transfection efficiency than PEI (1800 and 25 000 Da), SuperFect, and lipofectamine. In addition, WSLP has less cytotoxicity than PEI (25 000 Da), SuperFect, and lipofectamine. Since WSLP has cholesterol moiety, it may utilize cellular cholesterol uptake pathway, in which low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is involved. An inhibition study with free cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) showed that transfection was inhibited by cholesterol or LDL, suggesting that WSLP/pDNA complex is transfected to the cells through the cholesterol uptake pathway. To evaluate the transfection efficiency to myocardium, WSLP/pDNA complex was injected into the rabbit myocardium. WSLP showed higher transfection than PEI and naked pDNA. WSLP expressed the transgene for more than 2 weeks. In conclusion, WSLP is an efficient carrier for local gene transfection to myocardium, and useful in in vivo gene therapy.

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