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Complexes containing cationic and anionic pH-sensitive liposomes: comparative study of factors influencing plasmid DNA gene delivery to tumors

International Journal of Nanomedicine
Dove Medical Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.2147/ijn.s42800
  • Original Research
  • Design
  • Medicine


pH-sensitive liposomes represent an effective gene vector in cancer therapy. However, their use is greatly hampered by their relatively low transfection efficiency. To improve the transfection efficiency of pH-sensitive liposomes, we prepared complexes containing 3β-[N-(N′,N′-dimethylaminoethane) carbamoyl] cholesterol (DC-Chol) and dioleoylphosphatidyl ethanolamine (DOPE) liposomes and pH-sensitive liposomes composed of cholesteryl hemisuccinate (CHEMS) and DOPE, and evaluated the influence of various factors on plasmid DNA (pDNA) transfection efficiency. All DC-Chol/DOPE liposome/pDNA and pH-sensitive liposome complexes showed similarly potent pH sensitivity. In the presence of serum-containing medium, two optimized complexes of DC-Chol/DOPE liposomes/pDNA and pH-sensitive PEGylated liposomes showed high transfection efficiency of 22.94% and 20.07%, respectively. Notably, DC-Chol/DOPE (2:3) liposomes/pH-sensitive PEGylated (1%) liposome complexes with a charge ratio of 1:1 (m/m [+/−]) showed enhanced accumulation in tumors in vivo. Our results show the influence of various factors on pDNA transfection efficiency in complexes of DC-Chol/DOPE liposomes and pH-sensitive PEGylated liposomes. Understanding of such mechanisms will lead to better design of complexes of DC-Chol/DOPE liposomes and pH-sensitive liposomes for gene therapy.

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