Niosomes based on synthetic cationic lipids for gene delivery: the influence of polar head-groups on the transfection efficiency in HEK-293, ARPE-19 and MSC-D1 cells †
We designed niosomes based on three lipids that differed only in the polar-head group to analyze their influence on the transfection efficiency. These lipids were characterized by small-angle X-ray scattering before being incorporated into the niosomes which were characterized in terms of pKa, size, zeta potential, morphology and physical stability. Nioplexes were obtained upon the addition of a plasmid. Different ratios (w/w) were selected to analyze the influence of this parameter on size, charge and the ability to condense, release and protect the DNA. In vitro transfection experiments were performed in HEK-293, ARPE-19 and MSC-D1 cells. Our results show that the chemical composition of the cationic head-group clearly affects the physicochemical parameters of the niosomes and especially the transfection efficiency. Only niosomes based on cationic lipids with a dimethyl amino head group (lipid 3) showed a transfection capacity when compared with their counterparts amino (lipid 1) and tripeptide head-groups (lipid 2). Regarding cell viability, we clearly observed that nioplexes based on the cationic lipid 3 had a more deleterious effect than their counterparts, especially in ARPE-19 cells at 20/1 and 30/1 ratios. Similar studies could be extended to other series of cationic lipids in order to progress in the research on safe and efficient non-viral vectors for gene delivery purposes.