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Optimization of brush-like cationic copolymers for nonviral gene delivery.

Biomacromolecules (2012-12-18)
Hua Wei, Joshuel A Pahang, Suzie H Pun

Polyethylenimine (PEI) is one of the most broadly used polycations for gene delivery due to its high transfection efficiency and commercial availability but materials are cytotoxic and often polydisperse. The goal of current work is to develop an alternative family of polycations based on controlled living radical polymerization (CLRP) and to optimize the polymer structure for efficient gene delivery. In this study, well-defined poly(glycidyl methacrylate)(P(GMA)) homopolymers were synthesized using reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization followed by decoration using three different types of oligoamines, i.e., tetraethylenepentamine (TEPA), pentaethylenehexamine (PEHA), and tris(2-aminoethyl)amine (TREN), respectively, to generate various P(GMA-oligoamine) homopolycations. The effect of P(GMA) backbone length and structure of oligoamine on gene transfer efficiency was then determined. The optimal polymer, P(GMA-TEPA)(50), provided comparable transfection efficiency but lower cytotoxicity than PEI. P(GMA-TEPA)(50) was then used as the cationic block in diblock copolymers containing hydrophilic N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide (HPMA) and oligo(ethylene glycol) monomethyl ether methacrylate (OEGMA). Polyplexes of block copolymers were stable against aggregation in physiological salt condition and in Opti-MEM due to the shielding effect of P(HPMA) and P(OEGMA). However, the presence of the HPMA/OEGMA block significantly decreased the transfection efficacy of P(GMA-TEPA)(50) homopolycation. To compensate for reduced cell uptake caused by the hydrophilic shell of polyplex, the integrin-binding peptide, RGD, was conjugated to the hydrophilic chain end of P(OEGMA)(15)-b-P(GMA-TEPA)(50) copolymer by Michael-type addition reaction. At low polymer to DNA ratios, the RGD-functionalized polymer showed increased gene delivery efficiency to HeLa cells compared to analogous polymers lacking RGD.

Product Number
Product Description

Pentaethylenehexamine, technical grade