Serum Stable Carbohydrate-Oligoethyleneamine Copolymers for Nucleic Acid Delivery
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The delivery of nucleic acids at the tissue and cellular levels remains one of the major hurdles in this scientific area. Since nucleic acids are bulky macromolecules and unstable in the presence of nucleases, vehicles are required to compact them into nanosized particles, offer protection from degradation in vivo, and release the therapeutic cargo at the desired location. Polycationic vehicles are good candidates for these purposes since they can be chemically modified to tune the desired properties in nanoparticle formulations. We designed a family of trehalose-oligoethyleneamine copolymers that showed promising plasmid DNA (pDNA) transfection results in the presence of serum proteins. A diazidotrehalose monomer was copolymerized with linear oligoethyleneamines of varying length and containing alkyne end-groups via step-growth Cu(I)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition polymerization resulting in a series of trehalose copolymers with a range of secondary amines (from 4 to 6) within the polymer backbone. Upon electrostatic complexation of the polycations and pDNA in aqueous media, nanosized particles were formed, and their sizes and zeta-potentials were characterized via dynamic light scattering (DLS). The glycopolymers were tested for pDNA binding, toxicity, cellular uptake, and transfection efficiency in vitro. Characterization of these polymers revealed a significant influence of minor structural modifications on bioactivity. In general, all of the polymers efficiently bind pDNA at low nitrogen to phosphate (N/P) ratios forming nanoparticles below 100 nm in size and demonstrated cellular uptake and transfection. Polymers comprised of trehalose moieties and four secondary amines in the repeat unit showed the greatest promise in pDNA delivery in vitro. Because of its large hydration volume, we hypothesize that trehalose contributes to particle stabilization in serum. The trehalose-based polymers with four secondary amines (Tr4) were subsequently modified with PEG (5kDa). This modification lead to the development of well-defined polymeric structures with PEG moieties selectively incorporated at the ends of linear trehalose-oligoethyleneamine polycations. The study of the effect of this modification on bioactivity revealed that there were no significant difference in the toxicity profiles within this series of PEGylated and non-PEGylated materials; however, overall results suggest that both modified and unmodified trehalose-oligoethyleneamine copolymers have a great promise for stem cell-based and regenerative therapies.
- Doctoral Dissertations