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Biomaterials. 2007 Jun;28(18):2899-907. Epub 2007 Mar 19.

Gene transfection of hyperbranched PEI grafted by hydrophobic amino acid segment PBLG.

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State Key Laboratory of Polymer Physics and Chemistry, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, China.


The complex copolymer of hyperbranched polyethylenimine (PEI) with hydrophobic poly(gamma-benzyl L-glutamate) segment (PBLG) at their chain ends was synthesized. This water-soluble copolymer PEI-PBLG (PP) was characterized for DNA complexation (gel retardation assay, particle size, DNA release and DNase I protection), cell viability and in vitro transfection efficiency. The experiments showed that PP can effectively condense pDNA into particles. Size measurement of the complexes particles indicated that PP/DNA tended to form smaller nanoparticles than those of PEI/DNA, which was caused by the hydrophobic PBLG segments compressing the PP/DNA complex particles in aqueous solution. The representative average size of PP/DNA complex prepared using plasmid DNA (pEGFP-N1, pDNA) was about 96 nm. The condensed pDNA in the PP/pDNA complexes was significantly protected from enzymatic degradation by DNase I. Cytotoxicity studies by MTT colorimetric assays suggested that the PP had much lower toxicity than PEI. The in vitro transfection efficiency of PP/pDNA complexes improved a lot in HeLa cells, Vero cells and 293T cells as compared to that of PEI-25K by the expression of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as determined by flow cytometry. Thus, the water-soluble PP copolymer showed considerable potential as carriers for gene delivery.

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