In vivo gene transfer using cetylated polyethylenimine.
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This report describes gene transfer in vitro as well as in vivo using cetylated low-molecular mass (600 Da) polyethylenimine (28% of amine groups substituted with cetyl moieties), termed CT-PEI. This compound is hydrophobic and has to be incorporated into liposomes in order to be suitable for gene transfer studies. Serum-induced plasmid DNA degradation assay demonstrated that CT-PEI-containing liposomal carriers could protect complexed DNA (probably via condensation). In vitro luciferase gene expression achieved using medium supplemented with 10% serum was comparable to that achieved in serum-reduced medium and was highest for CT-PEI/cholesterol liposomes, followed by CT-PEI/dioleoylphosphatidylcholine liposomes and PEI 600 Da (uncetylated) carrier. In vivo systemic transfer into mice was most efficient when liposome formulations contained CT-PEI and cholesterol. Higher luciferase expression was then observed in lungs than in liver. In conclusion: liposomes containing cetylated polyethylenimine and cholesterol are a suitable vehicle for investigating systemic plasmid DNA transfer into lungs.
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