Asialoglycoprotein receptor targeted gene delivery using galactosylated polyethylenimine-graft-poly(ethylene glycol): in vitro and in vivo studies

J Control Release. 2005 Nov 28;108(2-3):557-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2005.09.001. Epub 2005 Oct 25.


The asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGP-R) on the hepatocyte membrane is a specific targeting marker for gene and drug delivery. Polyethylenimine (PEI) is a polycationic nonviral vector that is used for gene transfer. We have synthesized galactosylated polyethylenimine-graft-poly(ethylene glycol) (GPP) for performing gene delivery to the hepatocytes. The present study reports on the in vitro and in vivo data that was achieved in hepatoma bearing transgenic mice. The cytotoxicity was decreased with the increasing PEG content. The particle size of the complex was increased with the increasing PEG at an N/P ratio of 3.0, while the zeta potentials were decreased. The (99m)Tc labeled complexes were transfected into HepG2 and HeLa cells, while the GFP reporter genes were mainly expressed in the HepG2 cells. The in vivo data was achieved in ALB/c-Ha-ras transgenic mice. (99m)Tc labeled GPP(50)/DNA was injected into the mice via the tail vein, and the gamma images were acquired at 5, 15 and 30 min. The (99m)Tc labeled complexes were mainly localized in the heart and liver, and they were excreted through the kidneys. The GFP gene was mainly expressed in the proliferating cells at the tumor periphery. This result was confirmed by PCNA staining. The GPP(50)/DNA complexes were bound to ASGP-R of the proliferating hepatocytes in vitro and in vivo. The present results demonstrate the feasibility of nonviral gene transfer using galactosylated PEI-PEG in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asialoglycoprotein Receptor / drug effects*
  • Asialoglycoprotein Receptor / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • DNA / genetics
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Electrochemistry
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Genes, ras / genetics
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Technetium
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Transfection / methods*


  • Asialoglycoprotein Receptor
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • galactosylated polyethylenimine-graft-poly(ethylene glycol)
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Technetium
  • DNA
  • thiazolyl blue