Author(s): Thanou M, Florea BI, Geldof M, Junginger HE, Borchard G
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Abstract Quaternized modifications of chitosan present characteristics that might be useful in DNA condensing and efficient gene delivery. Trimethylated chitosan (TMO) was synthesized from oligomeric chitosan (<20 monomer units). TMOs spontaneously formed complexes (chitoplexes) with RSV-alpha3 luciferase plasmid DNA. These complexes were characterized by photon correlation spectroscopy and were investigated for their ability to transfect COS-1 and Caco-2 cell lines in the presence and absence of fetal calf serum and compared with DOTAP (N-[1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy)propyl]-N,N,N-trimethylammonium sulphate) lipoplexes. Additionally, their effect on the viability of the respective cell cultures was investigated using the 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Results showed that quaternized chitosan oligomers were able to condense DNA and form complexes with a size ranging from 200 to 500 nm. Chitoplexes proved to transfect COS-1 cells, however, to a lesser extent than DOTAP-DNA lipoplexes. The quaternized oligomer derivatives appeared to be superior to oligomeric chitosan. The presence of fetal calf serum (FCS) did not affect the transfection efficiency of the chitoplexes, whereas the transfection efficiency of DOTAP DNA complexes was decreased. Cells remained 100\% viable in the presence of chitosan oligomers whereas viability of DOTAP treated cells decreased to approximately 50\% in both cell lines. Both DOTAP-DNA lipoplexes and chitoplexes resulted in less transfection efficiency in Caco-2 cell cultures than in COS-1 cells; however quaternized chitosan oligomers proved to be superior to DOTAP. Effects on the viability of Caco-2 cells were similar to the effects observed in COS-1 cells. We conclude that trimethylated chitosan-DNA complexes present suitable characteristics and the potential to be used as gene delivery vectors.
This article was published in Biomaterials
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine