Encapsulation of plasmid DNA in calcium phosphate nanoparticles: stem cell uptake and gene transfer efficiency
Xia Cao*, Wenwen Deng*, Yuan Wei*, Weiyan Su, Yan Yang, Yawei Wei, Jiangnan Yu, Ximing Xu
Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, and Center for Nano Drug/Gene Delivery and Tissue Engineering, Jiangsu University, Jingkou District, Zhenjiang, People's Republic of China
*These authors contributed equally to this work
Background: The purpose of this study was to develop calcium phosphate nanocomposite particles encapsulating plasmid DNA (CP-pDNA) nanoparticles as a nonviral vector for gene delivery.
Methods: CP-pDNA nanoparticles employing plasmid transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) were prepared and characterized. The transfection efficiency and cell viability of the CP-pDNA nanoparticles were evaluated in mesenchymal stem cells, which were identified by immunofluorescence staining. Cytotoxicity of plasmid TGF-β1 and calcium phosphate to mesenchymal stem cells were evaluated by MTT assay.
Results: The integrity of TGF-β1 encapsulated in the CP-pDNA nanoparticles was maintained. The well dispersed CP-pDNA nanoparticles exhibited an ultralow particle size (20–50 nm) and significantly lower cytotoxicity than Lipofectamine™ 2000. Immunofluorescence staining revealed that the cultured cells in this study were probably mesenchymal stem cells. The cellular uptake and transfection efficiency of the CP-pDNA nanoparticles into the mesenchymal stem cells were higher than that of needle-like calcium phosphate nanoparticles and a standard calcium phosphate transfection kit. Furthermore, live cell imaging and confocal laser microscopy vividly showed the transportation process of the CP-pDNA nanoparticles in mesenchymal stem cells. The results of a cytotoxicity assay found that both plasmid TGF-β1 and calcium phosphate were not toxic to mesenchymal stem cells.
Conclusion: CP-pDNA nanoparticles can be developed into an effective alternative as a nonviral gene delivery system that is highly efficient and has low cytotoxicity.
Keywords: calcium phosphate nanoparticles, transfection, gene delivery, cellular uptake, mesenchymal stem cells
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