Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society

Polyethylenimine combined with liposomes and with decreased numbers of primary amine residues strongly enhanced therapeutic antiviral efficiency against herpes simplex virus type 2 in a mouse model.

PMID 23298614


The development of antiviral agents that have novel mechanisms of action is urgently required in the topical therapy of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infections. We reported previously that topical application of branched 3610-Da polyethylenimine (PEI) exhibited preventative antiviral activity. In this study, to develop therapeutic anti-HSV-2 agents, the most potent PEI combined with ~200 nm-sized liposomes with or without oleic acid (liposomes/PEI) was selected in vitro and further evaluated using in vivo studies. The mechanism of action in vivo was elucidated using PEIs with decreased numbers of primary amine residues, resulting from ethylene carbonate treatment, and polyallylamine, a linear polyamine consisting of primary amines. Cytotoxicity and antiviral activity in vitro, and the appearance of acute herpetic disease and virus yields in mice intravaginally administered with liposomes/PEI were evaluated in cell culture assays and a mouse genital herpes model, respectively. In addition, the cellular association of liposome/PEI was examined by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. PEI showed higher antiviral activity postinfection than preinfection in vivo. Liposome/PEI and PEI with decreased numbers of primary amine residues at a dose of 0.2 mg PEI/mouse exhibited more potent therapeutic antiviral activity than acyclovir and PEI alone without acute lesion appearance or toxicity pre- or postinfection, but polyallylamine was moderately effective only preinfection. Liposome concentrations were important for the effectiveness of liposome/PEI. This finding suggests that PEI combined with liposomes and with slightly decreased numbers of primary amines may be an effective vaginally administrated antiviral drug, and secondary and tertiary amine residues of PEI may contribute to the inhibitory efficiency against viral infection.

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Ethylene carbonate, anhydrous, 99%
Ethylene carbonate, 98%