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J Biotechnol. 2007 Jun 15;130(2):107-13. Epub 2007 Feb 17.

Preparation, characterization and transfection efficiency of cationic PEGylated PLA nanoparticles as gene delivery systems.

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  • 1National Key Laboratory of Nanobiological Technology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, PR China.


The cationic polylactic acid (PLA) nanoparticle has emerged as a promising non-viral vector for gene delivery because of its biocompatibility and biodegradability. However, they are not capable of prolonging gene transfer and high transfection efficiency. In order to achieve prolonged delivery of cationic PLA/DNA complexes and higher transfection efficiency, in this study, we used copolymer methoxypolyethyleneglycol-PLA (MePEG-PLA), PLA and chitosan (CS) to prepare MePEG-PLA-CS NPs and PLA-CS NPs by a diafiltration method and prepared NPs/DNA complexes through the complex coacervation of nanoparticles with the pDNA. The object of our work is to evaluate the characterization and transfection efficiency of MePEG-PLA-CS versus PLA-CS NPs. The MePEG-PLA-CS NPs have a zeta potential of 15.7 mV at pH 7.4 and size under 100 nm, while the zeta potential of PLA-CS NPs was only 4.5 mV at pH 7.4. Electrophoretic analysis suggested that both MePEG-PLA-CS NPs and PLA-CS NPs with positive charges could protect the DNA from nuclease degradation and cell viability assay showed MePEG-PLA-CS NPs exhibit a low cytotoxicity to normal human liver cells. The potential of PLA-CS NPs and MePEG-PLA-CS NPs as a non-viral gene delivery vector to transfer exogenous gene in vitro and in vivo were examined. The pDNA being carried by MePEG-PLA-CS NPs, PLA-CS NPs and lipofectamine could enter and express in COS7 cells. However, the transfection efficiency of MePEG-PLA-CS/DNA complexes was better than PLA-CS/DNA and lipofectamine/DNA complexes by inversion fluorescence microscope and flow cytometry. It was distinctively to find that the transfection activity of PEGylation of complexes was improved. The nanoparticles were also tested for their ability to transport across the gastrointestinal mucosa in vivo in mice. In vivo experiments showed obviously that MePEG-PLA-CS/DNA complexes mediated higher gene expression in stomach and intestine of BALB/C mice compared to PLA-CS/DNA and lipofectamine/DNA complexes. These results suggested that MePEG-PLA-CS NPs have favorable properties for non-viral gene delivery.

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