Porous silicon–graphene oxide core–shell nanoparticles for targeted delivery of siRNA to the injured brain
We report the synthesis, characterization, and assessment of a nanoparticle-based RNAi delivery platform that protects siRNA payloads against nuclease-induced degradation and efficiently delivers them to target cells. The nanocarrier is based on biodegradable mesoporous silicon nanoparticles (pSiNPs), where the voids of the nanoparticles are loaded with siRNA and the nanoparticles are encapsulated with graphene oxide nanosheets (GO–pSiNPs). The graphene oxide encapsulant delays release of the oligonucleotide payloads in vitro by a factor of 3. When conjugated to a targeting peptide derived from the rabies virus glycoprotein (RVG), the nanoparticles show 2-fold greater cellular uptake and gene silencing. Intravenous administration of the nanoparticles into brain-injured mice results in substantial accumulation specifically at the site of injury.