, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 96-102
Date: 26 Mar 2008

Poly(L-lactic acid)/polyethylenimine nanoparticles as plasmid DNA carriers

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Non-viral vectors such as liposomes, polycations, and nanoparticles have been used as gene delivery systems. In this study, we prepared and characterized biodegradable poly(L-lactic acid) (PLA)/polyethylenimine (PEI) nanoparticles as gene carriers. pCMV/β-gal and pEGFP-C1 were utilized as model plasmid DNAs (pDNA). Nanoparticles were prepared using a double emulsion-solvent evaporation technique, and their pDNA binding capacity was assessed by agarose gel electrophoresis. Transfection was studied in HEK 293 and HeLa cell lines, and the transfection efficiencies were determined by β-galactosidase assay or flow cytometry. Three kinds of PLA/PEI systems were studied by varying the molecular weight of PEI. The PLA/PEI 25K system had a higher transfection efficiency than the PLA/PEI 0.8K or PLA/PEI 750K systems. The transfection efficiency was found to be dependent on the ratio of PLA/PEI nanoparticles to pDNA with an optimum ratio of 60:1 (w/w). The cytotoxicity was dependent on the quantity of PLA/PEI nanoparticles used, but it was comparable to that of commercial Lipofectin™. These results demonstrate the potential of PLA/PEI nanoparticles as gene carriers.