Author(s): Becker AL, Orlotti NI, Folini M, Cavalieri F, Zelikin AN,
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Abstract In this report, we describe the delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) using LbL-assembled microcapsules. The microcapsules are based on negatively charged poly(methacrylic acid) nanometer thin films containing cross-linking disulfide bonds. One system is polycation-free and another contains polylysine for siRNA complexation in the microcapsule void. When microcapsules containing a siRNA targeting survivin were delivered to PC-3 prostate cancer cells, a significant inhibition of the expression of the antiapoptotic protein was observed. However, down-regulation of survivin was also observed in PC-3 cells exposed to microcapsules embedded with a scrambled siRNA as well as in cells treated with empty microcapsules. These findings indicate a capsule-dependent off-target effect, which is supported by a reduction in the expression of other survivin-unrelated proteins. The microcapsules and their polymeric constituents do not affect cell proliferation, as determined by a metabolic assay, even after 4 days of exposure. In addition, in PC-3 cells exposed to microcapsules, we observed a marked accumulation of LC3b, a marker related to autophagy (i.e., self-digestion), a degradation pathway involved in the maintenance of cell homeostasis in response to different stresses. This evidence suggests that empty microcapsules can induce a perturbation of the intracellular environment, which causes the activation of a cell safeguard mechanism that may limit the therapeutic effect of the microcapsules in tumor cells.
This article was published in ACS Nano
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine