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Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society (BKCS)

ISSN 0253-2964(Print)
ISSN 1229-5949(Online)
Volume 28, Number 1
BKCSDE 28(1)
January 20, 2007 

Apoptosis Induced by Polyethylenimine/DNA Complex in Polymer Mediated Gene Delivery
Minhyung Lee
Apoptosis, Gene delivery, Polyethylenimine, Toxicity
Polyethylenimine (PEI) has been widely investigated for delivery of DNA into cells. It was previously reported that there were at least two types of cytotoxicity in PEI-mediated gene delivery, immediate and delayed toxicities. PEI-mediated gene delivery protocols use net cationic complexes with an excess of PEI to maintain equilibrium between the complexed and dissociated forms in solution. In this study, toxicity of free PEI or PEI/ DNA complex was investigated. Human embryonic kidney 293 cells were incubated with free PEI or PEI/DNA complex for 4 hrs. Then, the cells were analyzed at 6, 24, 48, and 96 hrs after the incubation. In MTT assay, the viability of the cells incubated with PEI/DNA complex was continuously decreased with time, while that of the cells incubated with free PEI was not. On the contrary, the expression level of the luciferase gene increased gradually along with time. Release of DNAs from the complexes for transcription produces free PEIs in the cells. This process may proceed slowly due to high charge density of PEI and may be related to delayed toxicity. In addition, apoptotic cells were observed only in the cells incubated with the PEI/DNA complex from 24 hrs after the incubation. The results suggest that PEI/DNA complex contributes to the delayed toxicity by inducing apoptosis and that the delayed toxicity may be related to decomplexation of the complexes in the cells.
95 - 98
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