Photothermal-assisted surface-mediated gene delivery for enhancing transfection efficiency†
The development of gene therapy puts forward the requirements for efficient delivery of genetic information into diverse cells. However, in some cases of transfection, especially those for transfecting some primary cells and for delivering large size plasmid DNA (pDNA), the existing conventional transfection methods show poor efficiency. How to further improve transfection efficiency in these hard-to-achieve issues remains a crucial challenge. Here, we report a photothermal-assisted surface-mediated gene delivery based on a polydopamine-polyethylenimine (PDA-PEI) surface. The PDA-PEI surface was prepared through PEI-accelerated dopamine polymerization, which showed efficiency in the immobilization of PEI/pDNA polyplexes and remarkable photothermal properties. Upon IR irradiation, we observed improved transfection efficiencies of two important hard-to-achieve transfection issues, namely the transfection of primary endothelial cells, which are kinds of typical hard-to-transfect cells, and the transfection of cells with large-size pDNA. We demonstrate that the increases of transfection efficiency were due to the hyperthermia-induced pDNA release, the local cell membrane disturbance, and the polyplex internalization. This work highlights the importance of local immobilization and release of pDNA to gene deliveries, showing great potential applications in medical devices in the field of gene therapy.