Cholesterol-based cationic lipids for gene delivery: contribution of molecular structure factors to physico-chemical and biological properties.

Research paper by Ruilong R Sheng, Ting T Luo, Hui H Li, Jingjing J Sun, Zhao Z Wang, Amin A Cao

Indexed on: 21 Jan '14Published on: 21 Jan '14Published in: Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces


In this work, we prepared a series of cholesterol-based cationic (Cho-cat) lipids bearing cholesterol hydrophobe, natural amino acid headgroups (lysine/histidine) and linkage (carbonate ester/ether) bonds. In which, the natural amino acid headgroups made dominant contribution to their physico-chemical and biological properties. Among the lipids, the l-lysine headgroup bearing lipids (Cho-es/et-Lys) showed higher pDNA binding affinity and were able to form larger sized and higher surface charged lipoplexes than that of l-histidine headgroup bearing lipids (Cho-es/et-His), they also demonstrated higher transfection efficacy and higher membrane disruption capacities than that of their l-histidine headgroup bearing counterparts. However, compared to the contributions of the headgroups, the (carbonate ester/ether) linkage bonds showed much less affects. Besides, it could be noted that, Cho-es/et-Lys lipids exhibited very high luciferase gene transfection efficiency that almost reached the transfection level of "gold standard" bPEI-25k, made them potential transfection reagents for practical application. Moreover, the results facilitated the understanding for the structure-activity relationship of the cholesterol-based cationic lipids, and also paved a simple and efficient way for achieving high transfection efficiency by modification of suitable headgroups on lipid gene carriers.