Gemini surfactants provide a significant opportunity in the development of new non-viral delivery systems designed for gene therapy applications. This review summarizes the wide range of gemini surfactant structures that have been employed for DNA transfection in vitro. A general observation is that those structures capable of inducing a wide variety of polymorphic structures (lamellar, hexagonal, or cubic phases) demonstrate higher transfection efficiencies. Those compounds whose structures result in pH-dependent changes in aggregate structure similarly show higher levels of transfection. In vivo transfection using gemini surfactants has been demonstrated in only three cases, and in a recent study the transfection was linked to a specific therapeutic response.
Keywords: Gene therapy, gemini surfactant, non-viral, transfection, delivery system, in vivo, in vitro
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