Transferrin receptor-targeted lipid nanoparticles for delivery of an antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide against bcl-2

Xiaojuan Yang, Chee Guan Koh, Shujun Liu, Xiaogang Pan, Ramasamy Santhanam, Bo Yu, Yong Peng, Jiuxia Pang, Sharon Golan, Yeshayahu Talmon, Yan Jin, Natarajan Muthusamy, John C. Byrd, Kenneth K. Chan, L. James Lee, Guido Marcucci, Robert J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Antisense oligonucleotide G3139-mediated down-regulation of Bcl-2 is a potential strategy for overcoming chemoresistance in leukemia. However, the limited efficacy shown in recent clinical trials calls attention to the need for further development of novel and more efficient delivery systems. In order to address this issue, transferrin receptor (TfR)-targeted, protamine-containing lipid nanoparticles (Tf-LNs) were synthesized as delivery vehicles for G3139. The LNs were produced by an ethanol dilution method, and lipid-conjugated Tf ligand was then incorporated by a postinsertion method. The resulting Tf-LNs had a mean particle diameter of ∼90 nm and G3139 loading efficiency of 90.4%. Antisense delivery efficiency of Tf-LNs was evaluated in K562, MV4-11, and Raji leukemia cell lines. The results showed that Tf-LNs were more effective than nontargeted LNs and free G3139 (p < 0.05) in decreasing Bcl-2 expression (by up to 62% at the mRNA level in K562 cells) and in inducing caspase-dependent apoptosis. In addition, Bcl-2 down-regulation and apoptosis induced by Tf-LN G3139 were shown to be blocked by excess free Tf and thus were TfR-dependent. Cell lines with higher TfR expression also showed greaterBcl-2 down-regulation. Furthermore, up-regulation of TfR expression in leukemia cells by iron chelator deferoxamine resulted in a further increase in antisense effect (up to 79% Bcl-2 reduction in K562 at the mRNA level) and in caspase-dependent apoptosis (by ∼3-fold) by Tf-LN. Tf-LN-mediated delivery combined with TfR up-regulation by deferoxamine appears to be a potentially promising strategy for enhancing the delivery efficiency and therapeutic efficacy of antisense oligonucleotides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular pharmaceutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Antisense oligonucleotide
  • G3139
  • Lipid nanoparticles
  • Protamine
  • Transferrin receptor


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