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Use of Primary and Secondary Polyvinylamines for Efficient Gene Transfection

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journal contribution
posted on 30.12.2016, 00:00 by Mathilde Dréan, Antoine Debuigne, Cristine Goncalves, Christine Jérôme, Patrick Midoux, Jutta Rieger, Philippe Guégan
Gene transfection with polymeric carrier remains a challenge; particularly, high transfection levels combined with low toxicity are hard to achieve. We herein revisit polyvinylamines, an old and neglected family of cationic polymers. They can be readily obtained by controlled hydrolysis of polyvinylamides prepared through (controlled) radical polymerization. A series of tailor-made and well-defined polyvinylamines bearing primary amino groups, and poly­(N-methylvinylamine) bearing secondary amines, were evaluated for the transfection of cells with pDNA as a function of their molar mass, molar mass distribution, and degree of deacetylation. Unexpected high transfection levels, in combination with low cytotoxicity were recorded for both series. Surprisingly, a great impact of the molar mass was observed for the primary amine polyvinylamine series, whereas the results were mostly independent of molar mass or dispersity for the polymer bearing secondary amine. It was further established that a certain percentage of acetamide groups increased the transfection level, while maintaining low cytotoxicity. These results highlight for the first time the real potential of polyvinylamines as gene carriers, and make these polymers very attractive for further development in gene therapy.