Gene-carried hepatoma targeting complex induced high gene transfection efficiency with low toxicity and significant antitumor activity
Qing-Qing Zhao,1,2 Yu-Lan Hu,1 Yang Zhou,3 Ni Li,1 Min Han,1 Gu-Ping Tang,4 Feng Qiu,2 Yasuhiko Tabata,5 Jian-Qing Gao,1
1Institute of Pharmaceutics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China; 2Department of Pharmacy, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China; 3Institute of Biochemistry, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA; 4Institute of Chemical Biology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China; 5Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
Background: The success of gene transfection is largely dependent on the development of a vehicle or vector that can efficiently deliver a gene to cells with minimal toxicity.
Methods: A liver cancer-targeted specific peptide (FQHPSF sequence) was successfully synthesized and linked with chitosan-linked polyethylenimine (CP) to form a new targeted gene delivery vector called CPT (CP/peptide). The structure of CPT was confirmed by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and ultraviolet spectrophotometry. The particle size of CPT/DNA complexes was measured using laser diffraction spectrometry and the cytotoxicity of the copolymer was evaluated by methylthiazol tetrazolium method. The transfection efficiency evaluation of the CP copolymer was performed using luciferase activity assay. Cellular internalization of the CP/DNA complex was observed under confocal laser scanning microscopy. The targeting specificity of the polymer coupled to peptide was measured by competitive inhibition transfection study. The liver targeting specificity of the CPT copolymer in vivo was demonstrated by combining the copolymer with a therapeutic gene, interleukin-12, and assessed by its abilities in suppressing the growth of ascites tumor in mouse model.
Results: The results showed that the liver cancer-targeted specific peptide was successfully synthesized and linked with CP to form a new targeted gene delivery vector called CPT. The composition of CPT was confirmed and the vector showed low cytotoxicity and strong targeting specificity to liver tumors in vitro. The in vivo study results showed that interleukin-12 delivered by the new gene vector CPT/DNA significantly enhanced the antitumor effect on ascites tumor-bearing imprinting control region mice as compared with polyethylenimine (25 kDa), CP, and other controls, which further demonstrate the targeting specificity of the new synthesized polymer.
Conclusion: The synthesized CPT copolymer was proven to be an effective liver cancer-targeted vector for therapeutic gene delivery, which could be a potential candidate for targeted cancer gene therapy.
Keywords: targeting, peptide, polyethylenimine, chitosan, antitumor
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