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Aerosol-Based Fabrication of Modified Chitosans and Their Application for Gene Transfection

Byeon, Jeong Hoon, Kim, Hee-Kwon, Thompson, David H., Roberts, Jeffrey T.
ACS applied materials 2014 v.6 no.7 pp. 4597-4602
aerosols, agarose, atomization, cell viability, chitosan, cholesterol, cytotoxicity, droplets, gel electrophoresis, genes, mixing, nanocarriers, nanoparticles, plasmids, polyethylene glycol, transfection
Modified chitosan nanoparticles were conveniently obtained by a one-step aerosol method, and their potential for gene transfection was investigated. Droplets containing modified chitosans were formed by collison atomization, dried to form solid particles, and collected and studied for potential use as nanocarriers. Modified chitosans consisted of a chitosan backbone and an additional component [covalently attached cholesterol; or blends with poly(l-lysine) (PLL), polyethyleneimine (PEI), or poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)]. Agarose gel retardation assays confirmed that modified chitosans could associate with plasmid DNA. Even though the average cell viability of cholesterol-chitosan (Ch-Cs) showed a slightly higher cytotoxicity (∼90% viability) than that for unmodified chitosan (Cs, ∼95%), transfection (>7.5 × 10⁵ in relative light units (RLU) mg–¹) was more effective than it was for Cs (∼7.6 × 10⁴ RLU mg–¹). The blending of PEI with Cs (i.e., a Cs/PEI) to produce transfection complexes enhanced the transfection efficiency (∼1.3 × 10⁶ RLU mg–¹) more than did the addition of PLL (i.e., a Cs/PLL, ∼9.3 × 10⁵ RLU mg–¹); however, it also resulted in higher cytotoxicity (∼86% viability for Cs/PEI vs ∼94% for Cs/PLL). The average cell viability (∼92%) and transfection efficiency (∼1.9 × 10⁶ RLU mg–¹) were complemented further by addition of PEG in Cs/PEI complexes (i.e., a Cs/PEI-PEG). This work concludes that gene transfection of Cs can be significantly enhanced by adding cationic polymers during aerosol fabrication without wet chemical modification processes of Cs.