American Chemical Society
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Triazine Dendrimers as Nonviral Vectors for in Vitro and in Vivo RNAi: The Effects of Peripheral Groups and Core Structure on Biological Activity

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posted on 2010-08-02, 00:00 authored by Olivia M. Merkel, Meredith A. Mintzer, Damiano Librizzi, Olga Samsonova, Tanja Dicke, Brian Sproat, Holger Garn, Peter J. Barth, Eric E. Simanek, Thomas Kissel
A family of triazine dendrimers, differing in their core flexibility, generation number, and surface functionality, was prepared and evaluated for its ability to accomplish RNAi. The dendriplexes were analyzed with respect to their physicochemical and biological properties, including condensation of siRNA, complex size, surface charge, cellular uptake and subcellular distribution, their potential for reporter gene knockdown in HeLa/Luc cells, and ultimately their stability, biodistribution, pharmacokinetics and intracellular uptake in mice after intravenous (iv) administration. The structure of the backbone was found to significantly influence siRNA transfection efficiency, with rigid, second generation dendrimers displaying higher gene knockdown than the flexible analogues while maintaining less off-target effects than Lipofectamine. Additionally, among the rigid, second generation dendrimers, those with either arginine-like exteriors or peripheries containing hydrophobic functionalities mediated the most effective gene knockdown, thus showing that dendrimer surface groups also affect transfection efficiency. Moreover, these two most effective dendriplexes were stable in circulation upon intravenous administration and showed passive targeting to the lung. Both dendriplex formulations were taken up into the alveolar epithelium, making them promising candidates for RNAi in the lung. The ability to correlate the effects of triazine dendrimer core scaffolds, generation number, and surface functionality with siRNA transfection efficiency yields valuable information for further modifying this nonviral delivery system and stresses the importance of only loosely correlating effective gene delivery vectors with siRNA transfection agents.