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Acetylation of PAMAM dendrimers for cellular delivery of siRNA.

  • Author(s): Waite, Carolyn L
  • Sparks, Sarah M
  • Uhrich, Kathryn E
  • Roth, Charles M
  • et al.
Abstract

Background

The advancement of gene silencing via RNA interference is limited by the lack of effective short interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery vectors. Rational design of polymeric carriers has been complicated by the fact that most chemical modifications affect multiple aspects of the delivery process. In this work, the extent of primary amine acetylation of generation 5 poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers was studied as a modification for the delivery of siRNA to U87 malignant glioma cells.

Results

PAMAM dendrimers were reacted with acetic anhydride to obtain controlled extents of primary amine acetylation. Acetylated dendrimers were complexed with siRNA, and physical properties of the complexes were studied. Dendrimers with up to 60% of primary amines acetylated formed approximately 200 nm complexes with siRNA. Increasing amine acetylation resulted in reduced polymer cytotoxicity to U87 cells, as well as enhanced dissociation of dendrimer/siRNA complexes. Acetylation of dendrimers reduced the cellular delivery of siRNA which correlated with a reduction in the buffering capacity of dendrimers upon amine acetylation. Confocal microscopy confirmed that escape from endosomes is a major barrier to siRNA delivery in this system.

Conclusion

Primary amine acetylation of PAMAM dendrimers reduced their cytotoxicity to U87 cells, and promoted the release of siRNA from dendrimer/siRNA complexes. A modest fraction (approximately 20%) of primary amines of PAMAM can be modified while maintaining the siRNA delivery efficiency of unmodified PAMAM, but higher degrees of amine neutralization reduced the gene silencing efficiency of PAMAM/siRNA delivery vectors.

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