For more than a decade, the understanding of RNA interference (RNAi) has been a growing field of interest. Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are small regulatory RNAs that play an important role in disease development and progression and therefore represent a potential new class of therapeutic targets. However, delivery of RNAi-based oligonucleotides is one of the most challenging hurdles to RNAi-based drug development. Electropermeabilization (EP) is recognized as a successful non-viral method to transfer nucleic acids into living cells both in vitro and in vivo. EP is the direct application of electric pulses to cells or tissues that transiently permeabilize plasma membranes, allowing the efficient delivery of exogenous molecules. The present review focused on the mechanism of RNAi-based oligonucleotides electrotransfer, from cellular uptake to intracellular distribution. Biophysical theories on oligonucleotide electrotransfer will be also presented. The advantages and few drawbacks of EP-mediated delivery will also be discussed.
Source: Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews (2015) 81: 161–168