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Journal for Biophysical Chemistry

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  • Open Access

Sustained release of complexed DNA from films: Study of bioactivity and intracellular tracking

  • 1Email author,
  • 2,
  • 1 and
  • 1

Received: 3 June 2010

Accepted: 14 December 2010


Sustained DNA delivery from polymeric films provides a means for localized and prolonged gene therapy. However, in the case of bioactive molecules such as plasmid DNA (pDNA), there are limitations on the achievable release profiles as well as on the maintenance of bioactivity over time. In this report, the authors have investigated the bioactivity of the released DNA (naked and complexed with lipofectamine) from polymeric films using in vitro cell transfection of COS-7 cell lines. The polymeric system consists of a biodegradable semicrystalline polymer such as poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) with or without blended gelatin. Sustained release of lipoplexes and of pDNA is shown over several days. However, lipoplexes released from pure PCL films show no transfection on day 18, whereas lipoplexes released from PCL-gelatin films continue to transfect cells on day 18 of release. Confocal studies were used to determine the reasons for this difference in transfection efficiency, and it is proposed that association of the lipoplex with gelatin confers protection from degradation in the cytoplasm. The results also showed that the bioactivity of released lipoplexes was superior to that of the naked pDNA. For both naked pDNA and the lipoplexes, the presence of gelatin helped to maintain the bioactivity over several days.