Electroporation has been considered one of the most efficient non-viral based methods to deliver genes regardless of frequently observed high cell mortality. In this study we used a microporation technique to optimise the delivery of plasmid DNA encoding green fluorescence protein (GFP) to human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSC). Using resuspension buffer (RB) and as low as 1.5 x 10⁵ cells and 1 μg of DNA, we achieved 40% of cells expressing the transgene, with cell recovery and cell viabilities of 85% and 90%, respectively. An increase in DNA amount did not significantly increase the number of transfected cells but clearly reduced cell recovery. A face-centered composite design was used to unveil the conditions giving rise to optimal plasmid delivery efficiencies when using a sucrose based microporation buffer (SBB). The BM-MSC proliferation kinetics were mainly affected by the presence of plasmid and not due to the microporation process itself although no effect was observed on their immunophenotypic characteristics and differentiative potential. Based on the data shown herein microporation demonstrated to be a reliable and efficient method to genetically modify hard-to-transfect cells giving rise to the highest levels of cell survival reported so far along with superior gene delivery efficiencies.
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