Engineered ionizable lipid nanoparticles for targeted delivery of RNA therapeutics into different types of cells in the liver

Sci Adv. 2021 Feb 26;7(9):eabf4398. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abf4398. Print 2021 Feb.


Ionizable lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) have been widely used for in vivo delivery of RNA therapeutics into the liver. However, a main challenge remains to develop LNP formulations for selective delivery of RNA into certain types of liver cells, such as hepatocytes and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs). Here, we report the engineered LNPs for the targeted delivery of RNA into hepatocytes and LSECs. The effects of particle size and polyethylene glycol-lipid content in the LNPs were evaluated for the hepatocyte-specific delivery of mRNA by ApoE-mediated cellular uptake through low-density lipoprotein receptors. Targeted delivery of RNA to LSECs was further investigated using active ligands. Incorporation of mannose allowed the selective delivery of RNA to LSECs, while minimizing the unwanted cellular uptake by hepatocytes. These results demonstrate that engineered LNPs have great potential for the cell type-specific delivery of RNA into the liver and other tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Lipids*
  • Liposomes
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Nanoparticles* / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism


  • Lipid Nanoparticles
  • Lipids
  • Liposomes
  • RNA, Small Interfering