A miniaturized nebulization catheter for improved gene delivery to the mouse lung

J Gene Med. 2005 Sep;7(9):1215-22. doi: 10.1002/jgm.762.


Background: The available methods for administration of gene delivery systems to the lungs of small animals via nebulization have several drawbacks. These include lack of control over the delivered dose and a negative impact on the stability of the formulation. This paper describes a new nebulization catheter device for the administration of plasmid-based gene delivery systems (polyplexes) as aerosols to the mouse lung in vivo.

Methods: The physical stability of naked pDNA and polyplexes formulated with chitosan oligomers and PEI was examined following nebulization with the catheter device. We also examined the in vitro transfection efficiency of the polyplexes recovered after nebulization. Lung distribution and gene expression after administration of the selected gene delivery systems to the mouse lung were also investigated.

Results: In contrast to previously described nebulization methods, the structural integrity of the unprotected naked pDNA was maintained following nebulization by the catheter device, which indicates relatively mild nebulization conditions. In addition, the nebulization procedure did not affect the physical stability of the formulated polyplexes. Small volumes of the pDNA aerosol (10-20 microl) were delivered in a highly controlled and reproducible manner. The aerosol droplet size varied with the molecular weight of the polycations. Aerosol delivery via this method resulted in improved lung distribution of pDNA polyplexes and a six-fold increase in the efficiency of gene delivery in vivo over that seen with the commonly used intratracheal instillation method.

Conclusion: The use of the nebulization catheter device provides a promising alternative for aerosol gene delivery to the mouse lung.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Chitosan
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Gene Transfer Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Genetic Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Lung
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Muridae
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers*
  • Transfection


  • Aerosols
  • Chitosan
  • Luciferases