Synthesis of multi-functional large pore mesoporous silica nanoparticles as gene carriers
The development of functional nanocarriers that can enhance the cellular delivery of a variety of nucleic acid agents is important in many biomedical applications such as siRNA therapy. We report the synthesis of large pore mesoporous silica nanoparticles (LPMSN) loaded with iron oxide and covalently modified by polyethyleneimine (denoted PEI-Fe-LPMSN) as carriers for gene delivery. The LPMSN have a particle size of ~200 nm and a large pore size of 11 nm. The large pore size is essential for the formation of large iron oxide nanoparticles to increase the magnetic properties and the adsorption capacity of siRNA molecules. The magnetic property facilitates the cellular uptake of nanocarriers under an external magnetic field. PEI is covalently grafted on the silica surface to enhance the nanocarriers' affinity against siRNA molecules and to improve gene silencing performance. The PEI-Fe-LPMSN delivered siRNA-PLK1 effectively into osteosarcoma cancer cells, leading to cell viability inhibition of 80%, higher compared to the 50% reduction when the same dose of siRNA was delivered by a commercial product, oligofectamine.