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Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society (BKCS)

ISSN 0253-2964(Print)
ISSN 1229-5949(Online)
Volume 22, Number 1
BKCSDE 22(1)
January 20, 2001 

Effect of Poly(ethylene glycol) Grafting on Polyethylenimine as a Gene Transfer Vector in vitro
Jin Hee Choi, Joon Sig Choi, Hearan Suh, Jong Sang Park
Polyethylenimine, Poly(ethylene glycol), Cytotoxicity, Gene delivery.
To evaluate the non-ionic polymer, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), as a component in cationic copolymers for non-viral gene delivery systems, PEG was coupled to polyethylenimine (PEI). We present the effects of different degrees and shapes of pegylation of PEI on cytotoxicity, water solubility and transfection efficiency. This work reports the synthesis and characterization of a series of cationic copolymers on the basis of the conjugates of PEI with PEG. The modified molecules were significantly less toxic than the original polymer. Moreover, the chemical modification led to enhancement of their solubility. The comparison of pegylated PEIs with different degrees of derivation showed that all the polymers tested reached comparable levels of transgene expression to that of native PEI. As assessed by agarose gel electrophoresis, even highly substituted PEI derivatives were still able to form polyionic complexes with DNA. However, aside from an increase in solubility and retention of the ability to condense DNA, methoxy-PEG-modified PEIs resulted in a significant decrease in the transfection activity of the DNA complexes. In fact, the efficiency of the copolymer was compromised even at a low degree of modification suggesting that the PEG action resulting from its shape is important for efficient gene transfer. The mode of PEG grafting and the degree of modification influenced the transfection efficiency of PEI.
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