Fabrication and Characterization of pcDNA3.1(+) Location within Chitosan/Nanoparticles Complexes for Enhanced Gene Delivery

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord, Iran

2 Biotechnology Research Center, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord, Iran

3 Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Basic Health Sciences Institute, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran.


Background: Chitosan nanoparticles (CSNP) are becoming a popular alternative for delivering nucleic acids to tissues for gene transfer (gene therapy). The size and morphology of these biodegradable nano-carriers are adjustable, and their positive charge allows them to interact strongly with negatively charged nucleic acids.
Objective: This study aimed to fabricate and characterize pcDNA3.1 (+) plasmid (pDNA) and CSNP complexes and determine the plasmid location in these vehicles.
Materials and Methods: The characteristics of the pDNA/CSNP complex after production were investigated by SEM, XRD, DLS, TGA, and FTIR. The capacity of CSNP to form complexes with pDNA was investigated by labeling free plasmids with the fluorescent intercalating dye OliGreen. The stability of pDNA/CSNP in the presence of chitosanase was evaluated. Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) for pDNA localization was performed, and absorption rate in BALB/c mice was assessed by real-time PCR.
Results: The optimum pDNA/CSNP ratio for plasmid complex formation was established to be 1:2 (w.w) by measuring spectroscopy. At these optimum complex formation ratios, spectroscopy, and gel digest experiments, SERS indicated that a part of the pDNA was present on the complex outer surface. The findings of plasmid absorption in mouse thigh tissue by real-time PCR revealed that the rate of gene uptake was significantly greater at a dose of 1:2 (w.w) of pDNA/CSNP than in other groups (P< 0.001).
Conclusions: The findings of this study reveal exactly pDNA fits into polymer nanostructured delivery systems, allowing the formulation to be adjusted for selective distribution. This understanding will aid future research into the system’s functioning in vitro and in vivo.


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