In vitro gene delivery mediated by chitosan. effect of pH, serum, and molecular mass of chitosan on the transfection efficiency.
Chitosan is a biodegradable and biocompatible polymer and is useful as a non-viral vector for gene delivery. In order to deliver pDNA/chitosan complex into macrophages expressing a mannose receptor, mannose-modified chitosan (man-chitosan) was employed. The cellular uptake of pDNA/man-chitosan complexes through mannose recognition was then observed. The pDNA/man-chitosan complexes showed no significant cytotoxicity in mouse peritoneal macrophages, while pDNA/man-PEI complexes showed strong cytotoxicity. The pDNA/man-chitosan complexes showed much higher transfection efficiency than pDNA/chitosan complexes in mouse peritoneal macrophages. Observation with a confocal laser microscope suggested differences in the cellular uptake mechanism between pDNA/chitosan complexes and pDNA/man-chitosan complexes. Mannose receptor-mediated gene transfer thus enhances the transfection efficiency of pDNA/chitosan complexes.