Investigating the effects of block versus statistical glycopolycations containing primary and tertiary amines for plasmid DNA delivery

Dustin Sprouse, Theresa M. Reineke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Polymer composition and morphology can affect the way polymers interact with biomolecules, cell membranes, and intracellular components. Herein, diblock, triblock, and statistical polymers that varied in charge center type (primary and/or tertiary amines) were synthesized to elucidate the role of polymer composition on plasmid DNA complexation, delivery, and cellular toxicity of the resultant polyplexes. The polymers were synthesized via RAFT polymerization and were composed of a carbohydrate moiety, 2-deoxy-2- methacrylamido glucopyranose (MAG), a primary amine group, N-(2-aminoethyl) methacrylamide (AEMA), and/or a tertiary amine moiety, N,N-(2-dimethylamino) ethyl methacrylamide (DMAEMA). The lengths of both the carbohydrate and cationic blocks were kept constant while the primary amine to tertiary amine ratio was varied within the polymers. The polymers were characterized via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and size exclusion chromatography (SEC), and the polyplex formulations with pDNA were characterized in various media using dynamic light scattering (DLS). Polyplexes formed with the block copolymers were found to be more colloidally stable than statistical copolymers with similar composition, which rapidly aggregated to micrometer sized particles. Also, polymers composed of a higher primary amine content were more colloidally stable than polymers consisting of the tertiary amine charge centers. Plasmid DNA internalization, transgene expression, and toxicity were examined with each polymer. As the amount of tertiary amine in the triblock copolymers increased, both gene expression and toxicity were found to increase. Moreover, it was found that increasing the content of tertiary amines imparted higher membrane disruption/destabilization. While both block and statistical copolymers had high transfection efficiencies, some of the statistical systems exhibited both higher transfection and toxicity than the analogous block polymers, potentially due to the lack of a hydrophilic block to screen membrane interaction/ disruption. Overall, the triblock terpolymers offer an attractive composition profile that exhibited interesting properties as pDNA delivery vehicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2616-2628
Number of pages13
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 14 2014


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