Non-viral vectors are of interest as therapeutic gene delivery agents in gene therapy, because they are simple to prepare, easy to modify and have definable safety profiles compared to viral vectors. The potential of gene therapy in the treatment of renal diseases is limited by a lack of effective kidney-targeted gene delivery systems. Aminoglycoside antibiotics gentamicin and neomycin were connected by amide linkages to carboxyl groups on carboxyalkylated-PEI25 (25 kDa PEI) or carboxyalkylated-PEI10 (10 kDa PEI). Aminoglycoside-carboxyalkylated-PEI conjugates were characterized with respect to size, surface charge density, DNA condensation ability, and buffering capacity. Polyplexes prepared by electrostatic interaction between aminoglycoside-carboxyalkylated-PEIs and enhanced green fluorescent protein-expressing (EGFP) plasmid DNA had appropriate nano-scale size (143–173 nm). Their targeting potential was investigated in cultured HK-2 immortalized human cortex/proximal tubule kidney epithelial cells, which expresses megalin, a scavenger receptor that mediates endocytosis of a diverse group of ligands, including aminoglycoside antibiotics. Aminoglycoside-carboxyalkylated-PEIs significantly increased EGFP gene transfection efficiency in HK-2 cells by ∼13-fold for aminoglycoside-carboxyalkylated-PEI25 and ∼7-fold increase for aminoglycoside-carboxyalkylated-PEI10 relative to the corresponding PEIs without aminoglycosides. The transfection efficiency of polyplexes was dependent on the weight ratio of aminoglycoside-containing ligand in the carrier. In the presence of a range of concentrations of human serum albumin, which competes for megalin binding, aminoglycoside-carboxyalkylated-PEI-mediated transfection was reduced to background levels. These results suggest that aminoglycoside-carboxyalkylated-PEI polyplexes can target megalin-expressing kidney-derived cells in vitro resulting in improved transfection efficiency with low cytotoxicity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Nanotechnology Research Center, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA and the Iran National Science Foundation (INFS) (Project 93027649) for the financial support of this research. This work was included in part in the PhD thesis of Fatemeh Oroojalian in University of Tehran.
- Gene Delivery
- Renal Targeting