DNA-polycation nanospheres as non-viral gene delivery vehicles

K. W. Leong, H. Q. Mao, V. L. Truong-Le, K. Roy, S. M. Walsh, J. T. August

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

481 Scopus citations


Nanospheres synthesized by salt-induced complex coacervation of cDNA and polycations such as gelatin and chitosan were evaluated as gene delivery vehicles. DNA-nanospheres in the size range of 200-750 nm could transfect a variety of cell lines. Although the transfection efficiency of the nanospheres was typically lower than that of lipofectamine and calcium phosphate controls in cell culture, the β-gal expression in muscle of BALB/c mice was higher and more sustained than that achieved by naked DNA and lipofectamine complexes. This gene delivery system has several attractive features: (1) ligands can be conjugated to the nanosphere for targeting or stimulating receptor-mediated endocytosis; (2) lysosomolytic agents can be incorporated to reduce degradation of the DNA in the endosomal and lysosomal compartments; (3) other bioactive agents or multiple plasmids can be co- encapsulated; (4) bioavailability of the DNA can be improved because of protection from serum nuclease degradation by the polymeric matrix; (5) the nanosphere can be lyophilized for storage without loss of bioactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Apr 30 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA nanoparticles
  • Gene delivery
  • Gene transfer
  • Nanospheres
  • Non-viral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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