Improved non-viral transfection of glial and adult neural stem cell lines and of primary astrocytes by combining agents with complementary modes of action
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Background Rational design of gene vectors for therapeutic applications requires understanding of transfection mechanisms. In this study, multiple transfection assays revealed complementary mechanisms between two commonly used transfection agents. This finding was then exploited to produce improved transfection outcomes. Methods and results Rat C6 glial cells, adult rat hippocampal progenitor cells and primary astrocytes were transfected using Lipofectamine (LA) or polyethylenimine (PEI), in vitro. Although LA- and PEI-transfected populations expressed the same total level of transgene product, LA transfected considerably more cells than PEI (approximately 20 vs. 14%). A fluorescently labelled plasmid and time-course analysis, involving both flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, were used to explain this apparent discrepancy. Results showed that LA delivered more plasmid DNA to the cytoplasm and achieved transgene expression in more cells than PEI. In contrast, PEI transfected fewer cells but, on average, produced more transgene product per transfected cell. Conclusions A comparative transfection model was developed to explain these different characteristics. According to this model, transfection is a multistage process with different transfection agents exerting their primary effect at different stages in this process. This model forecast that it should be possible to prepare a chimeric complex with a transfection efficiency that exceeded that achievable with Lipofectamine or polyethylenimine alone. This prediction was tested and shown to hold for glioma cells, primary astrocytes, and adult neural stems cells.
The Journal of Gene Medicine
Regenerative Medicine (incl. Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering)