Novel non-endocytic delivery of antisense oligonucleotides

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2000 Oct 31;44(1):35-49. doi: 10.1016/s0169-409x(00)00082-x.


Antisense oligonucleotides (ONs) have several properties that make them attractive as therapeutic agents. Hybridization of antisense ONs to their complementary nucleic acid sequences by Watson-Crick base pairing is a highly selective and efficient process. Design of therapeutic antisense agents can be made more rationally as compared to most traditional drugs, i.e., they can be designed on the basis of target RNA sequences and their secondary structures. Despite these advantages, the design and use of antisense ONs as therapeutic agents are still faced with several obstacles. One major obstacle is their inefficient cellular uptake and poor accessibility to target sites. In this article, we will discuss key barriers affecting ON delivery and approaches to overcome these barriers. Current methods of ON delivery will be reviewed with an emphasis on novel non-endocytic methods of delivery. ONs are taken up by cells via an endocytic process. The process of ON release from endosomes is a very inefficient process and, hence, ONs end up being degraded in the endosomes. Thus, ONs do not reach their intended site of action in the cytoplasm or nucleus. Delivery systems ensuring a cytoplasmic delivery of ONs have the potential to increase the amount of ON reaching the target. Here, we shall examine various ON delivery methods that bypass the endosomal pathway. The advantages and disadvantages of these methods compared to other existing methods of ON delivery will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electroporation
  • Endocytosis
  • Humans
  • Lipids / administration & dosage
  • Liposomes
  • Microinjections
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / administration & dosage*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacokinetics
  • Permeability
  • Polylysine / administration & dosage
  • Protein Sorting Signals


  • Lipids
  • Liposomes
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Polylysine