Back to Journals » International Journal of Nanomedicine » Volume 12

Folic acid-functionalized polyethylenimine superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles as theranostic agents for magnetic resonance imaging and PD-L1 siRNA delivery for gastric cancer

Authors Luo X, Peng X, Hou J, Wu S, Shen J, Wang L

Received 16 March 2017

Accepted for publication 23 May 2017

Published 26 July 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 5331—5343


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun

Xin Luo,1,* Xia Peng,1,* Jingying Hou,2 Shuyun Wu,3 Jun Shen,4 Lingyun Wang1

1Department of Gastroenterology, 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, 3Department of Thoracic Surgery, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, 4Department of Radiology, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), which is highly expressed in gastric cancers, interacts with programmed death-1 (PD-1) on T cells and is involved in T-cell immune resistance. To increase the therapeutic safety and accuracy of PD-1/PD-L1 blockade, RNA interference through targeted gene delivery was performed in our study. We developed folic acid (FA)- and disulfide (SS)–polyethylene glycol (PEG)-conjugated polyethylenimine (PEI) complexed with superparamagnetic iron oxide Fe3O4 nanoparticles (SPIONs) as a siRNA-delivery system for PD-L1 knockdown. The characterization, binding ability, cytotoxicity, transfection efficiency, and cellular internalization of the polyplex were determined. At nitrogen:phosphate (N:P) ratios of 10 or above, the FA-PEG-SS-PEI-SPIONs bound to PD-L1 siRNA to form a polyplex with a diameter of approximately 120 nm. Cell-viability assays showed that the polyplex had minimal cytotoxicity at low N:P ratios. The FA-conjugated polyplex showed higher transfection efficiency and cellular internalization in the folate receptor-overexpressing gastric cancer cell line SGC-7901 than a non-FA-conjugated polyplex. Subsequently, we adopted the targeted FA-PEG-SS-PEI-SPION/siRNA polyplexes at an N:P ratio of 10 for function studies. Cellular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed that the polyplex could also act as a T2-weighted contrast agent for cancer MRI. Furthermore, one of four PD-L1 siRNAs exhibited effective PD-L1 knockdown in PD-L1-overexpressing SGC-7901. To determine the effects of the functionalized polyplex on T-cell function, we established a coculture model of activated T cells and SGC-7901 cells and demonstrated changes in secreted cytokines. Our findings highlight the potential of this class of multifunctional theranostic nanoparticles for effective targeted PD-L1-knockdown therapy and MRI diagnosis in gastric cancers.

Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging, theranostics, RNA interference, PEI, cellular internalization

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]