2009 Volume 32 Issue 4 Pages 706-710
For designing a complex vector that has the advantages of both polyethylenimine (PEI) and chitosan for gene delivery, a PEI/chitosan/DNA complex was constructed at various N/P ratios (the ratios of moles of the amine groups of cationic polymers to those of the phosphate ones of DNA) and both the cytotoxicity and the transfection efficiency of the vector were evaluated. The results demonstrated that the chitosan/DNA binding degree was depended on the N/P ratio. The mean size of the complex vector was between 100 nm and 150 nm. Compared with PEI/DNA, the complex vector (PEI/chitosan/DNA with chitosan/DNA N/P=4, PEI/DNA N/P=10) appeared to have low cytotoxicity, which maintained the cell survival rate at greater than 80%, and showed higher transfection efficiency of nearly 1000 fold compared with that using chitosan/DNA alone. Furthermore, the expression efficiency of the complex vector carrying enhanced green fluorescent protein was not inhibited in the presence of serum in both HeLa cells and A549 cells. The PEI/chitosan complex may be a promising gene carrier that has high transfection efficiency as well as low cytotoxicity.