Recent progress in copolymer-mediated siRNA delivery

J Drug Target. 2012 Aug;20(7):551-60. doi: 10.3109/1061186X.2012.699057.


RNAi-mediated gene silencing has great potential for treating various diseases, including cancer, by delivering a specific short interfering RNA (siRNA) to knock down pathogenic mRNAs and suppress protein translation. Although many researchers are dedicated to devising polymer-based vehicles for exogenous in vitro siRNA transfection, few synthetic vehicles are feasible in vivo. Recent studies have presented copolymer-based vectors that are minimally immunogenic and facilitate highly efficient internalizing of exogenous siRNA, compared with homopolymer-based vectors. Cationic segments, organelle-escape units, and degradable fragments are essential to a copolymer-based vehicle for siRNA delivery. The majority of these cationic segments are derived from polyamines, including polylysine, polyarginine, chitosan, polyethylenimines and polyamidoamine dendrimers. Not only do these cationic polyamines protect siRNA, they can also promote disruption of endosomal membranes. Degradable fragments of copolymers must be derived from various polyelectrolytes to release the siRNA once the complexes enter the cytoplasm. This review describes recent progress in copolymer-mediated siRNA delivery, including various building blocks for biocompatible copolymers for efficient in vitro siRNA delivery, and a useful basis for addressing the challenges of in vivo siRNA delivery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Genetic Vectors / chemistry
  • Polyamines / administration & dosage
  • Polyamines / chemistry
  • Polymers / administration & dosage*
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • RNA, Small Interfering / administration & dosage*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / chemistry


  • Polyamines
  • Polymers
  • RNA, Small Interfering