PAMAM Dendrimer/pDNA Functionalized-Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Gene Delivery

J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2015 Aug;11(8):1370-84. doi: 10.1166/jbn.2015.2101.


Herein, we report an easy and ingenious method to functionalize magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MNPs) with plasmid DNA (pDNA) to obtain nanohybrid systems suitable for nucleic acid therapy. The nanohybrids were prepared by combining complexes of dendrimers and pDNA (dendriplexes) and poly(styrene) sulfonate-coated MNPs through electrostatic interactions. The effects of the dendrimer generation (generations 2, 4 and 6) and the amine to phosphate group (N/P) ratio on the hydrodynamic diameter, zeta potential, cell viability, cellular internalization and transfection efficiency of the nanohybrids were systematically investigated at different transfection conditions (including incubation time, pDNA concentration, presence or absence of an external magnetic field, and presence or absence of fetal bovine serum). The results confirmed that the nanohybrids were able to transfect NIH 3T3 cells, and that the level of gene expression (the luciferase protein reporter gene was used) was strongly dependent on the dendrimer generation, the N/P ratio, and the pDNA concentration. The best system was based on dendriplex-coated MNPs formed by generation 6 dendrimers at an N/P ratio of 10 that, at optimized conditions, led to a gene expression level which was not significantly different from that obtained only using dendriplexes. In summary, a coherent set of results was reached indicating the potential of the developed nanohybrids as effective gene delivery nanomaterials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendrimers / chemistry*
  • Diffusion
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Nanocapsules / administration & dosage
  • Nanocapsules / chemistry*
  • Nanocapsules / ultrastructure
  • Particle Size
  • Plasmids / administration & dosage*
  • Plasmids / chemistry
  • Plasmids / genetics*
  • Transfection / methods*


  • Dendrimers
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • Nanocapsules
  • PAMAM Starburst