Bioreducible PEI-functionalized glycol chitosan: A novel gene vector with reduced cytotoxicity and improved transfection efficiency

Shahrouz Taranejoo, Ramya Chandrasekaran, Wenlong Cheng, Kerry Hourigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Non-viral gene delivery has been well recognised as a potential way to address the main safety limitations of viral gene carriers. A new redox-responsive PEI derivative was designed, synthesized and evaluated for non-viral delivery applications of GFP DNA. Glycol chitosan was covalently attached to highly branched LMW PEI via bio-cleavable disulfide bonds to synthesize a new redox-responsive gene carrier (GCS-ss-PEI). Results showed the enhanced buffering capacity of GCS-ss-PEI, 43.1%, compared to the bufferingcapacities of both LMW PEI and HMW PEI, 23.2% and 31.5%, respectively, indicating more likely endosomal escape of the entrapped gene for GCS-ss-PEI. Moreover, electrophoretic gel retardation assay,performed to investigate the binding strength of GCS-ss-PEI to GFP DNA, showed stronger complexation with GFP DNA in GCS-ss-PEI at non-GSH condition. Employing GCS and incorporation of disulfidebonds in the structure of the PEI-based gene carrier resulted in improved redox-responsivity, reduced toxicity, enhanced endosomal escape and GFP DNA transfection. The facilitated intracellular gene release along with excellent redox-responsive characteristics and dropped cytotoxicity suggests the potential ofGCS-ss-PEI as a candidate for developing highly efficient and safe gene vectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-168
Number of pages9
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • GCS-ss-PEI
  • Glycol chitosan
  • PEI
  • Redox-responsive
  • Non-viral vector
  • Cytotoxicity

Cite this