Improved stability and efficacy of chitosan/pDNA complexes for gene delivery

Noemi Cifani, Laura Chronopoulou, Barbara Pompili, Antonio Di Martino, Federico Bordi, Simona Sennato, Enea Gino Di Domenico, Cleofe Palocci, Fiorentina Ascenzioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Among polymeric polycations, chitosan has emerged as a powerful carrier for gene delivery. Only a few studies have focused on the stability of the chitosan/DNA complex under storage, although this is imperative for nanomedicinal applications. Here, we synthesized polyelectrolyte complexes at a charge ratio of 10 using 50 kDa chitosan and plasmid (p)DNA that encodes a GFP reporter. These preparations were stable up to 3 months at 4 °C and showed reproducible transfection efficiencies in vitro in HEK293 cells. In addition, we developed a methodology that increases the in vitro transfection efficiency of chitosan/pDNA complexes by 150 % with respect to standard procedures. Notably, intracellular pDNA release and transfected cells peaked 5 days following transection of mitotically active cells. These new developments in formulation technology enhance the potential for polymeric nanoparticle-mediated gene therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-565
Number of pages9
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Chitosan
  • Chitosan/pDNA nanocomplexes
  • DNA transfection
  • Gene delivery
  • HEK293 cells
  • Therapeutic genes
  • Transfection efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Improved stability and efficacy of chitosan/pDNA complexes for gene delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this