Macromolecular Research

, Volume 26, Issue 13, pp 1251–1256 | Cite as

Surface Charge Modification of Polyethyleneimine for Enhanced Renal Clearance and Bioimaging

  • Sungsu Lee
  • Wonbong Lim
  • Jin Seok Jung
  • Danbi Jo
  • Gayoung Jo
  • Min Ho ParkEmail author
  • Hoon HyunEmail author


Polyethyleneimine (PEI) has emerged as a potentially effective carrier for gene delivery. To overcome the cytotoxicity of PEI in vivo, the biodistribution and clearance of PEI conjugated with near-infrared fluorophores (NIRF) were imaged in mice. To confirm the effect of surface charge on enhanced renal clearance, PEI was conjugated with three different types of NIRF: positively charged PEI-NIRF+, negatively charged PEI-NIRF-, and zwitterionic PEI-NIRF± conjugates, which were intravenously injected into mice. The biodistribution and body clearance were monitored under an NIR fluorescence imaging system at 4 h and 24 h postinjection. All organs and tissues were resected to further compare the distribution of each PEI-NIRF conjugate in two mice at 4 h and 24 h. The results showed that the zwitterionic PEI-NIRF± conjugate was most rapidly cleared, primarily through the kidneys of the mice within 24 h postinjection. In conclusion, the biodistribution of zwitterionic PEI-NIRF± was found to be significantly different from that of positively and negatively charged PEI-NIRF conjugates with increased renal clearance. Thus, zwitterionic PEI-NIRF± could be a promising gene delivery carrier that can potentially reduce the side effects of conventional cationic polymers such as cytotoxicity and non-specific binding in vivo.


polyethyleneimine biodistribution renal clearance near-infrared fluorophores near-infrared fluorescence imaging 


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Copyright information

© The Polymer Society of Korea and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryChonnam National University Medical SchoolGwangjuKorea
  2. 2.Department of Premedical Program, School of MedicineChosun UniversityGwangjuKorea
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical SciencesChonnam National University Medical SchoolGwangjuKorea
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryChonnam National University Medical SchoolGwangjuKorea

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