In vivo quantification of formulated and chemically modified small interfering RNA by heating-in-Triton quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (HIT qRT-PCR)

Silence. 2010 Aug 23;1(1):16. doi: 10.1186/1758-907X-1-16.


Background: While increasing numbers of small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics enter into clinical trials, the quantification of siRNA from clinical samples for pharmacokinetic studies remains a challenge. This challenge is even more acute for the quantification of chemically modified and formulated siRNAs such as those typically required for systemic delivery.

Results: Here, we describe a novel method, heating-in-Triton quantitative reverse transcription PCR (HIT qRT-PCR) that improves upon the stem-loop RT-PCR technique for the detection of formulated and chemically modified siRNAs from plasma and tissue. The broad dynamic range of this assay spans five orders of magnitude and can detect as little as 70 pg duplex in 1 g of liver or in 1 ml of plasma. We have used this assay to quantify intravenously administrated siRNA in rodents and have reliably correlated target reduction with tissue drug concentrations. We were able to detect siRNA in rat liver for at least 10 days post injection and determined that for a modified factor VII (FVII) siRNA, on average, approximately 500 siRNA molecules per cell are required to achieve a 50% target reduction.

Conclusions: HIT qRT-PCR is a novel approach that simplifies the in vivo quantification of siRNA and provides a highly sensitive and reproducible tool to measure the silencing efficiency of chemically modified and formulated siRNAs.