Polyethylenimine-Dermatan Sulfate Complex, a Bioactive Biomaterial with Unique Toxicity to CD146-Positive Cancer Cells

Bieong Kil Kim, Dongkyu Kim, Gijung Kwak, Ji Young Yhee, Ick Chan Kwon, Sun Hwa Kim, Yoon Yeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We report unique bioactivity of a polycation-polyanion complex with potential utility for cancer therapy. A complex of disulfide-cross-linked polyethylenimine (CLPEI), a polycation used for gene complexation, and dermatan sulfate (DS), an anionic polysaccharide to shield excessive cationic charge of the former, has toxicity to a specific group of cancer cell lines, including B16-F10 murine melanoma, A375SM human melanoma, and PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. These CLPEI-DS-sensitive cells express CD146, which binds to the complex via interaction with DS. There is a positive correlation between toxicity and intracellular level of CLPEI, indicating that the CLPEI-DS-sensitivity is attributable to the increased cellular uptake of CLPEI mediated by the DS-CD146 interactions. In vitro studies show that CLPEI-DS complex causes G0/G1 phase arrest and apoptotic cell death. In syngeneic and allograft models of B16-F10 melanoma, CLPEI-DS complex administered with a subtoxic level of doxorubicin potentiates the chemotherapeutic effect of the drug by loosening tumor tissues. Given the unique toxicity, CLPEI-DS complex may be a useful carrier of gene or chemotherapeutics for the therapy of CD146-positive cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-999
Number of pages10
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 12 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • CD146
  • bioactive biomaterials
  • dermatan sulfate
  • melanoma
  • polyethylenimine


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