Mannosylated Cationic Copolymers for Gene Delivery to Macrophages

Anton V. Lopukhov, Zigang Yang, Matthew J. Haney, Tatiana K. Bronich, Marina Sokolsky-Papkov, Elena V. Batrakova, Natalia L. Klyachko, Alexander V. Kabanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Macrophages are desirable targets for gene therapy of cancer and other diseases. Cationic diblock copolymers of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and poly-L-lysine (PLL) or poly{N-[N-(2-aminoethyl)-2-aminoethyl]aspartamide} (pAsp(DET)) are synthesized and used to form polyplexes with a plasmid DNA (pDNA) that are decorated with mannose moieties, serving as the targeting ligands for the C type lectin receptors displayed at the surface of macrophages. The PEG-b-PLL copolymers are known for its cytotoxicity, so PEG-b-PLL-based polyplexes are cross-linked using reducible reagent dithiobis(succinimidyl propionate) (DSP). The cross-linked polyplexes display low toxicity to both mouse embryonic fibroblasts NIH/3T3 cell line and mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMΦ). In macrophages mannose-decorated polyplexes demonstrate an ≈8 times higher transfection efficiency. The cross-linking of the polyplexes decrease the toxicity, but the transfection enhancement is moderate. The PEG-b-pAsp(DET) copolymers display low toxicity with respect to the IC-21 murine macrophage cell line and are used for the production of non-cross-linked pDNA-contained polyplexes. The obtained mannose modified polyplexes exhibit ca. 500-times greater transfection activity in IC-21 macrophages compared to the mannose-free polyplexes. This result greatly exceeds the targeting gene transfer effects previously described using mannose receptor targeted non-viral gene delivery systems. These results suggest that Man-PEG-b-pAsp(DET)/pDNA polyplex is a potential vector for immune cells-based gene therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000371
JournalMacromolecular Bioscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • cationic block copolymer
  • macrophage transfection
  • mannose
  • targeted gene delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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