VCAM-1 specific PEGylated SAINT-based lipoplexes deliver siRNA to activated endothelium in vivo but do not attenuate target gene expression

Niek G J Leus, Henriëtte W M Morselt, Peter J Zwiers, Piotr S Kowalski, Marcel H J Ruiters, Grietje Molema, Jan A A M Kamps

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19 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years much research in RNA nanotechnology has been directed to develop an efficient and clinically suitable delivery system for short interfering RNA (siRNA). The current study describes the in vivo siRNA delivery using PEGylated antibody-targeted SAINT-based-lipoplexes (referred to as antibody-SAINTPEGarg/PEG2%), which showed superior siRNA delivery capacity and effective down-regulation of VE-cadherin gene expression in vitro in inflammation-activated primary endothelial cells of different vascular origins. PEGylation of antibody-SAINTPEGarg resulted in more desirable pharmacokinetic behavior than that of non-PEGylated antibody-SAINTPEGarg. To create specificity for inflammation-activated endothelial cells, antibodies against vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) were employed. In TNF alpha-challenged mice, these intravenously administered anti-VCAM-1-SAINTPEGarg/PEG2% homed to VCAM-1 protein expressing vasculature. Confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that anti-VCAM-1-SAINTPEGarg/PEG2% co-localized with endothelial cells in lung postcapillary venules. Furthermore, they did not exert any liver and kidney toxicity. Yet, lack of in vivo gene silencing as assessed in whole lung and in laser microdissected lung microvascular segments indicates that in vivo internalization and/or intracellular trafficking of the delivery system and its cargo in the target cells are not sufficient, and needs further attention, emphasizing the essence of evaluating siRNA delivery systems in an appropriate in vivo animal model at an early stage in their development. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20-Jul-2014


  • Targeted delivery
  • siRNA
  • Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1
  • Endothelial cells
  • Inflammation
  • Cationic lipid
  • RNA

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