Ionizable Lipid Nanoparticles for In Vivo mRNA Delivery to the Placenta during Pregnancy

J Am Chem Soc. 2023 Mar 1;145(8):4691-4706. doi: 10.1021/jacs.2c12893. Epub 2023 Feb 15.


Ionizable lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are the most clinically advanced nonviral platform for mRNA delivery. While they have been explored for applications including vaccines and gene editing, LNPs have not been investigated for placental insufficiency during pregnancy. Placental insufficiency is caused by inadequate blood flow in the placenta, which results in increased maternal blood pressure and restricted fetal growth. Therefore, improving vasodilation in the placenta can benefit both maternal and fetal health. Here, we engineered ionizable LNPs for mRNA delivery to the placenta with applications in mediating placental vasodilation. We designed a library of ionizable lipids to formulate LNPs for mRNA delivery to placental cells and identified a lead LNP that enables in vivo mRNA delivery to trophoblasts, endothelial cells, and immune cells in the placenta. Delivery of this top LNP formulation encapsulated with VEGF-A mRNA engendered placental vasodilation, demonstrating the potential of mRNA LNPs for protein replacement therapy during pregnancy to treat placental disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Nanoparticles* / metabolism
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Placental Insufficiency*
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics


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