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Enhancing microparticle internalization by nonphagocytic cells through the use of noncovalently conjugated polyethyleneimine

Authors Patiño T, Nogués C, Ibáñez E, Barrios L

Received 4 June 2012

Accepted for publication 1 October 2012

Published 8 November 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 5671—5682

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S34635

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Tania Patiño, Carme Nogués, Elena Ibáñez, Leonardo Barrios

Unitat de Biologia Cel lular, Departament de Biologia Cel lular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Facultat de Biociències, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain

Abstract: Development of micro- and nanotechnology for the study of living cells, especially in the field of drug delivery, has gained interest in recent years. Although several studies have reported successful results in the internalization of micro- and nanoparticles in phagocytic cells, when nonphagocytic cells are used, the low internalization efficiency represents a limitation that needs to be overcome. It has been reported that covalent surface modification of micro- and nanoparticles increases their internalization rate. However, this surface modification represents an obstacle for their use as drug-delivery carriers. For this reason, the aim of the present study was to increase the capability for microparticle internalization of HeLa cells through the use of noncovalently bound transfection reagents: polyethyleneimine (PEI) Lipofectamine™ 2000 and FuGENE 6®. Both confocal microscopy and flow cytometry techniques allowed us to precisely quantify the efficiency of microparticle internalization by HeLa cells, yielding similar results. In addition, intracellular location of microparticles was analyzed through transmission electron microscopy and confocal microscopy procedures. Our results showed that free PEI at a concentration of 0.05 mM significantly increased microparticle uptake by cells, with a low cytotoxic effect. As determined by transmission electron and confocal microscopy analyses, microparticles were engulfed by plasma-membrane projections during internalization, and 24 hours later they were trapped in a lysosomal compartment. These results show the potential use of noncovalently conjugated PEI in microparticle internalization assays.

Keywords: HeLa cells, internalization efficiency, endocytosis, drug delivery

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