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Ferritin-mediated siRNA delivery and gene silencing in human tumor and primary cells

Li, Le, Muñoz-Culla, Maider, Carmona, Unai, Lopez, Maria Paz, Yang, Fan, Trigueros, Cesar, Otaegui, David, Zhang, Lianbing, Knez, Mato
Biomaterials 2016 v.98 pp. 143-151
anti-inflammatory activity, drugs, encapsulation, ferritin, gene silencing, humans, mononuclear leukocytes, neoplasm cells, small interfering RNA, stem cells, transfection
We demonstrate a straightforward method to encapsulate siRNA into naturally available and unmodified human apoferritin. The encapsulation into apoferritin is independent of the sequence of the siRNA and provides superior protection for those sensitive molecules. High efficiency in transfection can be achieved in human tumorigenic cells, human primary mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). In contrast to Lipofectamine, highly effective gene silencing can be achieved with ferritin as the delivery agent in both tumor cells and PBMCs at low siRNA concentrations (10 nM). As an endogenous delivery agent, apoferritin does not induce immune activation of T- and B-cells in human PBMCs. Apoferritin shows intrinsic anti-inflammatory effects and apoferritin-mediated delivery shows a preference for immune-activated T- and B-cells, a natural selectivity which may turn useful for drug delivery in case of infections or inflammatory diseases.