Cyclodextrin-siRNA conjugates as versatile gene silencing agents

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Functional siRNAs (luciferase and PLK1) have been conjugated to β-cyclodextrin and the ability of the conjugates to retain gene knockdown activity has been assessed by delivery to cancer cell lines using various formulations. Initially two formulations used complexation with polycations, namely Lipofectamine 2000 and an amphiphilic polycationic cyclodextrin. Gene knockdown results for human glioblastoma cells (U87) and prostate cancer cells (PC3, DU145) showed that conjugation to the cyclodextrin did not reduce gene silencing by the RNA. A third mode of delivery involved formation of targeted nanoparticles in which the conjugate was first complexed with adamantyl-PEG-ligands (targeting ligand RVG peptide or dianisamide) by adamantyl inclusion in the cyclodextrin cavities of the conjugates, followed by charge neutralisation with the cationic polymer chitosan. Enhanced knockdown was achieved by these ligand-targeted formulations. In summary, while this study illustrated the gene silencing efficacy of a simple cyclodextrin-siRNA conjugate it is envisaged that future studies will explore the use of conjugates with a modified cyclodextrin which would be self-delivering. Detailed data such as stability, lysosomal escape etc. will then be reported for each conjugate, since this will be appropriate for conjugates which are intended to exploit, rather than merely demonstrate, the concept. The present paper was intended to demonstrate the viability and generality of this novel concept. (Eur J Pharm Sci. 2018 Mar 1;114:30-37.)

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