2007 Volume 30 Issue 9 Pages 1773-1778
Both polyethylenimine (PEI) polymers and cationic nanoparticles have been widely used for non-viral DNA transfection. Previously, we reported that cationic nanoparticles composed of cholesteryl-3β-carboxyamidoethylene-N-hydroxyethylamine and Tween 80 (NP-OH) could deliver plasmid DNA (pDNA) with high transfection efficiency. To increase the transfection activity of NP-OH, we investigated the potential synergism of PEI and NP-OH for the transfection of DNA into human prostate tumor PC-3, human cervices tumor Hela, and human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells. The transfection efficiency with low-molecular PEI (MW 600) was low, but that with a combination of NP-OH and PEI was higher than with NP-OH alone, being comparable to commercially available lipofectamine 2000 and lipofectamine LTX, with very low cytotoxicity. Low-molecular weight PEI could not compact pDNA in size, but rather might help to dissociate pDNA from the complex and release pDNA from the endosome to cytoplasm by the proton sponge effect. Therefore, the combination of cationic cholesterol-based nanoparticles and a low-molecular PEI has potential as a non-viral DNA vector for gene delivery.