The formulation of salicylate-based poly(anhydride-ester) (PAE) microspheres was optimized by altering polymer concentration and homogenization speed to improve the overall morphology. The microspheres were prepared using three salicylate-based PAEs with different chemical compositions comprised of either a heteroatomic, linear aliphatic, or branched aliphatic moiety. These PAEs broadened the range of complete salicylic acid release to now include days, weeks and months. The molecular weight (Mw), polydispersity index (PDI) and glass transition temperature (Tg) of the formulated polymers were compared to the unformulated polymers. In general, the Mw and PDI exhibited decreased and increased values, respectively, after formulation, whereas the Tg changes did not follow a specific trend. Microsphere size and morphology were determined using scanning electron microscopy. These microspheres exhibited smooth surfaces, no aggregation, and size distributions ranging from 2-34 m in diameter. In vitro release studies of the chemically incorporated salicylic acid displayed widely tunable release profiles.
drug delivery; microspheres; salicylic acid; biodegradable
Morphine, a potent narcotic analgesic used for the treatment of acute and chronic pain, was chemically incorporated into a poly(anhydride-ester) backbone. The polymer termed “PolyMorphine”, was designed to degrade hydrolytically releasing morphine in a controlled manner to ultimately provide analgesia for an extended time period. PolyMorphine was synthesized via melt-condensation polymerization and its structure was characterized using proton and carbon nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies, and infrared spectroscopy. The weight-average molecular weight and the thermal properties were determined. The hydrolytic degradation pathway of the polymer was determined by in vitro studies, showing that free morphine is released. In vitro cytocompatibility studies demonstrated that PolyMorphine is non-cytotoxic towards fibroblasts. In vivo studies using mice showed that PolyMorphine provides analgesia for 3 days, 20 times the analgesic window of free morphine. The animals retained full responsiveness to morphine after being subjected to an acute morphine challenge.
morphine; biodegradable; polymer; extended release; pain treatment; prodrug
Poly(anhydride-esters) with salicylic acid, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, chemically incorporated into the polymer backbone provide high inherent drug loading. These poly(anhydride-esters) hydrolytically degrade to release salicylic acid over extended time periods (>30 days); however, an initial lag period of no salicylic acid release is observed. This lag period could be unfavorable in applications where immediate salicylic acid release is desired. Poly(anhydride-esters) with short (2 days) and long (11 days) lag periods were admixed with various small molecules as a means to shorten or eliminate the lag period. Salicylic acid, larger salicylic acid prodrugs, and 1:1 combinations of the two were physically admixed, each at 1%, 5%, and 10% (w/w). All admixtures resulted in immediate salicylic acid release and a decrease in glass transition temperatures compared to polymer alone. By varying the amounts of salicylic acid and salicylic acid prodrugs incorporated into the polymer matrix, immediate and constant salicylic acid release profiles over varied time periods were achieved.
Biodegradable; polymer; salicylic acid; salicylic acid prodrugs; drug delivery; sustained release; poly(anhydride-ester); timed release
An amphiphilic macromolecule (AM) was exposed to ionizing radiation (both electron beam and gamma) at doses of 25 kGy and 50 kGy to study the impact of these sterilization methods on the physicochemical properties and bioactivity of the AM. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance and gel permeation chromatography were used to determine the chemical structure and molecular weight, respectively. Size and zeta potential of the micelles formed from AMs in aqueous media were evaluated by dynamic light scattering. Bioactivity of irradiated AMs was evaluated by measuring inhibition of oxidized low-density lipoprotein uptake in macrophages. From these studies, no significant changes in the physicochemical properties or bioactivity were observed after the irradiation, demonstrating that the AMs can withstand typical radiation doses used to sterilize materials.
amphiphilic macromolecule; electron beam radiation; gamma radiation; oxLDL inhibition; stability
Ferulic acid (FA) is an antioxidant and photoprotective agent used in biomedical and cosmetic formulations to prevent skin cancer and senescence. Although FA exhibits numerous health benefits, physicochemical instability leading to decomposition hinders its efficacy. To minimize inherent decomposition, a FA-containing biodegradable polymer was prepared via solution polymerization to chemically incorporate FA into a poly(anhydride-ester). The polymer was characterized using nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectroscopies. The molecular weight and thermal properties were also determined. In vitro studies demonstrated that the polymer was hydrolytically degradable, thus providing controlled release of the chemically incorporated bioactive with no detectable decomposition. The polymer degradation products were found to exhibit antioxidant and antibacterial activity comparable to free FA and in vitro cell viability studies demonstrated that the polymer is non-cytotoxic towards fibroblasts. This renders the polymer a potential candidate for use as a controlled release system for skin care formulations.
biodegradable; polymer; poly(anhydride-ester); ferulic acid; antioxidant; controlled release
5-aminosalicylic acid; polyanhydride; polymer drug; solution polymerization; triphosgene
The effect of electron beam and gamma radiation on the physicochemical properties of a salicylate-based poly(anhydride-ester) was studied by exposing polymers to 0 (control), 25 and 50 kGy. After radiation exposure, salicylic acid release in vitro was monitored to assess any changes in drug release profiles. Molecular weight, glass transition temperature and decomposition temperature were evaluated for polymer chain scission and/or crosslinking as well as changes in thermal properties. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectroscopies were also used to determine polymer degradation and/or chain scission. In vitro cell studies were performed to identify cytocompatibility following radiation exposure. These studies demonstrate that the physicochemical properties of the polymer are not substantially affected by exposure to electron beam and gamma radiation.
polyanhydride; sterilization; drug release; gamma irradiation; electron beam; stability
Microscale plasma-initiated patterning (μPIP) is a novel micropatterning technique used to create biomolecular micropatterns on polymer surfaces. The patterning method uses a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) stamp to selectively protect regions of an underlying substrate from oxygen plasma treatment resulting in hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions. Preferential adsorption of the biomolecules onto either the plasma-exposed (hydrophilic) or plasma-protected (hydrophobic) regions leads to the biomolecular micropatterns. In the current work, laminin-1 was applied to an electrospun polyamide nanofibrillar matrix following plasma treatment. Radial glial clones (neural precursors) selectively adhered to these patterned matrices following the contours of proteins on the surface. This work demonstrates that textured surfaces, such as nanofibrillar scaffolds, can be micropatterned to provide external chemical cues for cellular organization.
Extracellular matrix; micropatterning; nanofibers; laminin-1; glial cells; nerve regeneration
Continuous biomaterial advances and the regenerating potential of the adult human peripheral nervous system offer great promise for restoring full function to innervated tissue following traumatic injury via synthetic nerve guidance conduits. To most effectively facilitate nerve regeneration, a tissue engineering scaffold within a conduit must be similar to the linear microenvironment of the healthy nerve. To mimic the native nerve structure, aligned poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)/bioactive polyanhydride fibrous substrates were fabricated through optimized electrospinning parameters with diameters of 600 ± 200 nm. Scanning electron microscopy images show fibers with a high degree of alignment. Schwann cells and dissociated rat dorsal root ganglia demonstrated elongated and healthy proliferation in a direction parallel to orientated electrospun fibers with significantly longer Schwann cell process length and neurite outgrowth when compared to randomly orientated fibers. Results suggest that an aligned polyanhydride fiber mat holds tremendous promise as a supplement scaffold for the interior of a degradable polymer nerve guidance conduit. Bioactive salicylic acid based polyanhydride fibers are not limited to nerve regeneration and offer exciting promise for a wide variety of biomedical applications.
Nerve regeneration; electrospinning; fibers; polyanhydride; salicylic acid
Amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) based on carbohydrate domains functionalized with poly(ethylene glycol) can inhibit the uptake of oxidized low density lipoprotein (oxLDL) mediated by scavenger receptor A (SR-A) and counteract foam cell formation, the characteristic “atherosclerotic” phenotype. A series of AMs were prepared by altering the carbohydrate chemistry to evaluate the influence of backbone architecture on the physicochemical and biological properties. Upon evaluating the degree of polymer-based inhibition of oxLDL uptake in human embryonic kidney cells expressing SR-A, two AMs (2a and 2c) were found to have the most efficacy. Molecular modeling and docking studies show that these same AMs have the most favorable binding energies and most close interactions with the molecular model of SR-A collagen-like domain. Thus, minor changes in the AMs architecture can significantly affect the physicochemical properties and inhibition of oxLDL uptake. These insights can be critical for designing optimal AM-based therapeutics for management of cardiovascular disease.
Amphiphilic polymer; atherosclerosis; self-assembled micelle; oxLDL inhibition
Poly(anhydride-esters) were prepared from catechol, fenticlor and hexachlorophene. The molecular weights (Mw) of the polymers were typically > 10,000 Da with glass transition temperatures (Tg) ranging from 23 to 84 °C. The thermal characteristics of the polymers paralleled the melting temperatures of the chemically incorporated antiseptic molecules. The in vitro release of the chemically incorporated antiseptic molecules were monitored over a 12 week period. For comparison, the in vitro release of physically admixed antiseptic molecules were also observed. After 12 weeks, the polymers were not completely degraded with drug release ranging from less than 1 to 55 %. Sessile-drop contact angles indicated that the polymers were relatively hydrophobic, contributing to the slow polymer degradation rates.
Storage stability was evaluated on a biodegradable salicylate-based poly(anhydride-ester) to elucidate the effects of storage conditions over time. The hydrolytically labile polymer samples were stored in powdered form at five relevant storage temperatures (−12 °C, 4 °C, 27 °C, 37 °C, 50 °C) and monitored over four weeks for changes in color, glass transition temperature, molecular weight, and extent of hydrolysis. Samples stored at lower temperatures remained relatively constant with respect to bond hydrolysis and molecular weight. Whereas, samples stored at higher temperatures displayed significant hydrolysis. For hydrolytically degradable polymers, such as these poly(anhydride-esters), samples are best stored at low temperatures under an inert atmosphere.
Polyanhydride; Stability; Degradation; Biodegradable; Hydrolysis
The synthesis of a salicylate-based poly(anhydride-ester) was optimized to improve the overall efficiency and quality of the polymer. First, a new approach for the preparation of the polymer precursor minimizes the overall number of synthetic steps and increases the overall yield. Second, the melt-polymerization apparatus was modified to include dynamic mixing, which yields polymer with increased molecular weights on both the milligram and gram scale.
A series of salicylic acid-derived poly(anhydride–esters) were synthesized by melt polym erization methods, in which the structures of the molecule (“linker”) linking together the two salicylic acids were varied. To determine the relationship between the linker and the physical properties of the corresponding poly(anhydride–ester), several linkers were evaluated including linear aliphatic, aromatic, and aliphatic branched structures. For the linear aliphatic linkers, higher molecular weights were obtained with longer linear alkyl chains. The most sterically hindered linkers yielded lower molecular weight polymers. The thermal decomposition temperature increased with the alkyl chain length, but the glass transition temperature decreased, due to the enhanced flexibility of the polymer. The highest glass transition temperatures were obtained by using aromatic linkers as a result of increased π–π interactions. Water contact angles determined the relative hydrophobicity of the polymers, which correlated to hydrolytic degradation rates; i.e., the highest contact angle values yielded the slowest degrading polymers.
A series of poly(anhydride-esters) based on poly(1,10-bis(o-car-boxyphenoxy)decanoate) (CPD) and poly(1,6-bis(p-carboxyphenoxy)hexane) (p-CPH) were synthesized by melt-condensation polymerization. Poly-(anhydride-esters) that contain CPD hydrolytically degraded into salicylic acid, however, these homopolymers have mechanical and thermal characteristics that limit their use in clinical applications. The synthesis and characterization of copolymers of CPD with p-CPH, a monomer known to generate mechanically stable homopolymers, was investigated. By changing the CPD to p-CPH monomer ratios, the salicylic acid loading and thermal/mechanical properties of the copolymers was a controlling factor; increasing the CPD concentration increased the salicylate loading but decreased the polymer stability; whereas increasing the p-CPH concentration increased the thermal and mechanical stability of the copolymers. Specifically, decreasing the CPD:p-CPH ratio resulted in lower salicylate loading and increased thermal decomposition temperatures. The glass transition temperatures (°C) varied from 27 to 38°C, a desirable range for elastomeric biomedical implants.
poly(anhydride-ester); salicylic acid; drug loading; thermal properties; degradation; polyanhydride stability
A series of novel amphiphilic macromolecules composed of alkyl chains as the hydrophobic block and poly(ethylene glycol) as the hydrophilic block were designed to inhibit highly oxidized low density lipoprotein (hoxLDL) uptake by synthesizing macromolecules with negatively charged moieties (ie, carboxylic acids) located in the two different blocks. The macromolecules have molecular weights around 5,500 g/mol, form micelles in aqueous solution with an average size of 20–35 nm, and display critical micelle concentration values as low as 10−7 M. Their charge densities and hydrodynamic size in physiological buffer solutions correlated with the hydrophobic/hydrophilic block location and quantity of the carboxylate groups. Generally, carboxylate groups located in the hydrophobic block destabilize micelle formation more than carboxylate groups in the hydrophilic block. Although all amphiphilic macromolecules inhibited unregulated uptake of hoxLDL by macrophages, inhibition efficiency was influenced by the quantity and location of the negatively charged-carboxylate on the macromolecules. Notably, negative charge is not the sole factor in reducing hoxLDL uptake. The combination of smaller size, micellar stability and charge density is critical for inhibiting hoxLDL uptake by macrophages.
polymeric micelles; amphiphilic macromolecules; highly oxidized low-density lipoproteins; scavenger receptor inhibition
Kinetically assembled nanoparticles are fabricated from an advanced class of bioactive macromolecules that have potential utility in counteracting atherosclerotic plaque development via receptor-level blockage of inflammatory cells. In contrast to micellar analogs that exhibit poor potency and structural integrity under physiologic conditions, these kinetic nanoparticle assemblies maintain structural stability and demonstrate superior bioactivity in mediating oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) uptake in inflammatory cells.
Nanomedicine; Cardiovascular Disease; Macrophages; Atherosclerosis; Flash NanoPrecipitation; Biomedical Applications
Surfactant amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) were complexed with a 1:1 ratio of 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethyl-ammonium-propane (DOTAP) and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE), either by a coevaporation (CE) or postaddition (PA) method, to form AM–lipid complexes with enhanced drug delivery applications. By characterizing the surfactant–lipid interactions, these heterogeneous drug delivery systems can be better controlled and engineered for optimal therapeutic outcomes. In this study, the physical interactions between DOPE:DOTAP liposomes and AM surfactants were investigated. Langmuir fllm balance and isothermal calorimetry studies showed cooperative intermolecular interactions between pure lipids and AM in monolayers and high thermostability of structure formed by the addition of AM micelles to DOTAP: DOPE vesicles in buffer solution respectively. Increasing the AM weight ratio in the complexes via the CE method led to complete vesicle solubilization—from lamellar aggregates, to a mixture of coexisting vesicles and micelles, to mixed micelles. Isothermal calorimetry evaluation of AM-lipid complexes shows that, at higher AM weight ratios, PA-produced complexes exhibit greater stability than complexes at lower AM weight ratios. Similar studies show that AM-lipid complexes produced by the CE methods display stronger interactions between AM-lipid components than complexes produced by the PA method. The results suggest that the PA method produces vesicles with AM molecules associated with its outer leaflet only (i.e., an AM-coated vesicle), while the CE method produces complexes ranging from mixed vesicles to mixed micelle in which the AM-lipid components are more intimately associated. These results will be helpful in the design of AM-lipid complexes as structurally defined, stable, and effective drug delivery systems.
Amphiphilic macromolecules (AM) were electrostatically complexed with a 1:1 ratio of 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane (DOTAP) and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) to form AM–lipid complexes with drug delivery applications. The complexes exist as AM-coated liposomes and their drug delivery properties can be tuned by altering the AM–lipid weight ratio. The complexation and tuning are achieved in a simple, efficient, and scalable manner. The gradual increase in lipid ratios concurrently increased the zeta potential of the complexes, which directly correlates to increased cell uptake of the complexes in vitro with preferential uptake noted in BT-20 carcinoma cells versus normal fibroblasts. Increasing AM content increased complex steric stability in the presence of serum proteins and reduced the inherent cytotoxicity towards fibroblasts in vitro. AM–lipid complexes solubilized paclitaxel and showed drug-mediated, dose-dependent cytotoxicity towards target BT-20 cells in vitro. AM–lipid complexes make good candidates as drug delivery systems due to their tunable zeta potential, steric stability, inherently low cytotoxicity, and ability to load and deliver insoluble chemotherapeutic agents. Significantly, their preferential uptake in a carcinoma cell line over normal cells in vitro demonstrates a unique, passive targeting approach to delivery anti-cancer therapeutics.
Liposomes; Amphiphilic macromolecules; Preferential cell uptake; Drug delivery; Paclitaxel
New materials that can bind and deliver oligonucleotides such as short interfering RNA (siRNA) without toxicity are greatly needed to fulfill the promise of therapeutic gene silencing. Amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) were functionalized with linear ethyleneimines to create cationic AMs capable of complexing with siRNA. Structurally, the parent AM is formed from a mucic acid backbone whose tetra-hydroxy groups are alkylated with 12-carbon aliphatic chains to form the hydrophobic component of the macromolecule. This alkylated mucic acid is then mono-functionalized with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) as a hydrophilic component. The resulting AM contains a free carboxylic acid within the hydrophobic domain. In this work, linear ethyleneimines were conjugated to the free carboxylic acid to produce an AM with one primary amine (1N) or one primary amine and four secondary amines (5N). Further, an AM with amine substitution both to the free carboxylic acid in the hydrophobic domain and also to the adjacent PEG was synthesized to produce a polymer with one primary amine and eight secondary amines (9N), four located on each side of the AM hydrophobic domain. All amine-functionalized AMs formed nanoscale micelles but only the 5N and 9N AMs had cationic zeta potentials, which increased with increasing number of amines. All AMs exhibited less inherent cytotoxicity than linear polyethyleneimine (L-PEI) at concentrations of 10 µM and above. By increasing the length of the cationic ethyleneimine chain and the total number of amines, successful siRNA complexation and cellular siRNA delivery was achieved in a malignant glioma cell line. In addition, siRNA-induced silencing of firefly luciferase was observed using complexes of siRNA with the 9N AM and comparable to L-PEI, yet showed better cell viability at higher concentrations (above 10 µM). This work highlights the promise of cationic AMs as safe and efficient synthetic vectors for siRNA delivery. Specifically, a novel polymer (9N) was identified for efficient siRNA delivery to cancer cells and will be further evaluated.
amphiphiles; gene delivery; nanotechnology; siRNA
Activated vascular wall macrophages can rapidly internalize modified lipoproteins and escalate the growth of atherosclerotic plaques. This article proposes a biomaterials-based therapeutic intervention for depletion of non-regulated cholesterol accumulation and inhibition of inflammation of macrophages. Macromolecules with high scavenger receptor (SR)-binding activity were investigated for SR-mediated delivery of agonists to cholesterol-trafficking nuclear liver-X receptors. From a diverse feature space of a family of amphiphilic macromolecules of linear and aromatic mucic acid backbones modified with varied aliphatic chains and conjugated with differentially branched poly(ethylene glycol), a key molecule (carboxyl-terminated, C12-derivatized, linear mucic acid backbone) was selected for its ability to preferentially bind scavenger receptor A (SR-A) as the key target. At a basal level, this macromolecule suppressed the pro-inflammatory signaling of activated THP-1 macrophages while competitively lowering oxLDL uptake in vitro through scavenger receptor SRA-1 targeting. To further deplete intracellular cholesterol, the core macromolecule structure was exploited to solubilize a hydrophobic small molecule agonist for nuclear Liver-X Receptors, which regulate the efflux of intracellular cholesterol. The macromolecule-encapsulated agonist system was found to reduce oxLDL accumulation by 88% in vitro in comparison to controls. In vivo studies were designed to release the macromolecules (with or without encapsulated agonist) to injured carotid arteries within Sprague Dawley rats fed a high fat diet, conditions that yield enhanced cholesterol accumulation and macrophage recruitment. The macromolecules lowered intimal levels of accumulated cholesterol (50% for macromolecule alone; 70% for macromolecule-encapsulated agonist) and inhibited macrophage retention (92% for macromolecule; 96% for macromolecule-encapsulated agonist; 4 days) relative to non-treated controls. Thus, this study highlights the promise of designing bioactive macromolecule therapeutics based on scavenger receptor targeting, for potential management of vascular arterial disease.
A family of anionic nanoscale polymers based on amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) was developed for controlled inhibition of highly oxidized low density lipoprotein (hoxLDL) uptake by inflammatory macrophage cells, a process that triggers the escalation of a chronic arterial disease called atherosclerosis. The basic AM structure is composed of a hydrophobic portion formed from a mucic acid sugar backbone modified at the four hydroxyls with lauroyl groups conjugated to hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). The AM structure-activity relationships were probed by synthesizing AMs with six key variables: length of the PEG chain, carboxylic acid location, type of anionic charge, number of anionic charges, rotational motion of the anionic group, and PEG architecture. All AM structures were confirmed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and their ability to inhibit hoxLDL uptake in THP-1 human macrophage cells was compared in the absence and presence of serum.
We report that AMs with one, rotationally restricted carboxylic acid within the hydrophobic portion of the polymer was sufficient to yield the most effective AM for inhibiting hoxLDL internalization by THP-1 human macrophage cells under serum-containing conditions. Further, increasing the number of charges and altering the PEG architecture in an effort to increase serum stabilization did not significantly impair the ability of AMs to inhibit hoxLDL internalization, suggesting that selected modifications to the AMs could potentially promote multifunctional characteristics of these nanoscale macromolecules.
Biomaterials; Polymers; Nanoassemblies; Low-Density Lipoproteins; Macrophages
A polymer blend consisting of antimicrobials (chlorhexidine, clindamycin, and minocycline) physically admixed at 10% by weight into a salicylic acid-based poly (anhydride-ester) (SA-based PAE) was developed as an adjunct treatment for periodontal disease. The SA-based PAE/antimicrobial blends were characterized by multiple methods, including contact angle measurements and differential scanning calorimetry. Static contact angle measurements showed no significant differences in hydrophobicity between the polymer and antimicrobial matrix surfaces. Notable decreases in the polymer glass transition temperature (Tg) and the antimicrobials' melting points (Tm) were observed indicating that the antimicrobials act as plasticizers within the polymer matrix. In vitro drug release of salicylic acid from the polymer matrix and for each physically admixed antimicrobial was concurrently monitored by high pressure liquid chromatography during the course of polymer degradation and erosion. Although the polymer/antimicrobial blends were immiscible, the initial 24 h of drug release correlated to the erosion profiles. The SA-based PAE/antimicrobial blends are being investigated as an improvement on current localized drug therapies used to treat periodontal disease.
biodegradable polymer; polymer blends; salicylic acid; antimicrobials
Fast-degrading, salicylate-based poly(anhydride-esters) were designed to degrade and release the active component, salicylic acid (SA), within 1 week. The polymer degradation was enhanced by using shorter or oxygen-containing aliphatic chains. A copolymer of diglycolic acid was also made with a salicylate-based diacid for comparison of polymer properties, including SA release. Both methods resulted in polyanhydrides with molecular weights ranging from 14 500 to 27 800 Da and displayed glass transition temperatures near physiological conditions, namely 33–40°C. the homo- and copolymers completely degraded within one week releasing the chemically incorporated SA.
hydrolytic degradation; hydrophilic polymers; poly(anhydride-ester); polyanhydride; polymerization; synthesis
The advancement of gene silencing via RNA interference is limited by the lack of effective short interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery vectors. Rational design of polymeric carriers has been complicated by the fact that most chemical modifications affect multiple aspects of the delivery process. In this work, the extent of primary amine acetylation of generation 5 poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers was studied as a modification for the delivery of siRNA to U87 malignant glioma cells.
PAMAM dendrimers were reacted with acetic anhydride to obtain controlled extents of primary amine acetylation. Acetylated dendrimers were complexed with siRNA, and physical properties of the complexes were studied. Dendrimers with up to 60% of primary amines acetylated formed ~200 nm complexes with siRNA. Increasing amine acetylation resulted in reduced polymer cytotoxicity to U87 cells, as well as enhanced dissociation of dendrimer/siRNA complexes. Acetylation of dendrimers reduced the cellular delivery of siRNA which correlated with a reduction in the buffering capacity of dendrimers upon amine acetylation. Confocal microscopy confirmed that escape from endosomes is a major barrier to siRNA delivery in this system.
Primary amine acetylation of PAMAM dendrimers reduced their cytotoxicity to U87 cells, and promoted the release of siRNA from dendrimer/siRNA complexes. A modest fraction (approximately 20%) of primary amines of PAMAM can be modified while maintaining the siRNA delivery efficiency of unmodified PAMAM, but higher degrees of amine neutralization reduced the gene silencing efficiency of PAMAM/siRNA delivery vectors.