A receptor-targeted nanocomplex vector system optimized for respiratory gene transfer

Aristides D Tagalakis, Robin J McAnulty, James Devaney, Stephen E Bottoms, John B Wong, Martin Elbs, Michele J Writer, Helen C Hailes, Alethea B Tabor, Christopher O'Callaghan, Adam Jaffe, Stephen L Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Synthetic vectors for cystic fibrosis (CF) gene therapy are required that efficiently and safely transfect airway epithelial cells, rather than alveolar epithelial cells or macrophages, and that are nonimmunogenic, thus allowing for repeated delivery. We have compared several vector systems against these criteria including GL67, polyethylenimine (PEI) 22 and 25 kd and two new, synthetic vector formulations, comprising a cationic, receptor-targeting peptide K(16)GACSERSMNFCG (E), and the cationic liposomes (L) DHDTMA/DOPE or DOSEP3/DOPE. The lipid and peptide formulations self assemble into receptor-targeted nanocomplexes (RTNs) LED-1 and LED-2, respectively, on mixing with plasmid (D). LED-1 transfected airway epithelium efficiently, while LED-2 and GL67 preferentially transfected alveolar cells. PEI transfected airway epithelial cells with high efficiency, but was more toxic to the mice than the other formulations. On repeat dosing, LED-1 was equally as effective as the single dose, while GL67 was 30% less effective and PEI 22 kd displayed a 90% reduction of efficiency on repeated delivery. LED-1 thus was the only formulation that fulfilled the criteria for a CF gene therapy vector while GL67 and LED-2 may be appropriate for other respiratory diseases. Opportunities for PEI depend on a solution to its toxicity problems. LED-1 formulations were stable to nebulization, the most appropriate delivery method for CF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-15
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2008


  • Animals
  • Caspase 3/metabolism
  • Cations
  • Cystic Fibrosis/therapy
  • Female
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genetic Therapy/instrumentation
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Lung/metabolism
  • Macrophages/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Biological
  • Nanotechnology/methods


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