The aim of these studies was to compare the effect of liposome composition on physico-chemical characteristics and transfection efficacy of cationic liposomes both in vitro and in vivo. Comparison between 4 popularly used cationic lipids, showed 3β-N-(dimethylaminoethyl)carbamate (DC-Chol) to promote the highest transfect levels in cells in vitro with levels being at least 6 times higher than those of 1,2-di-O-octadecenyl-3-trimethylammonium propane (DOTMA). 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane (DOTAP), and dimethyldioctadecylammonium (DDA) and approximately twice as efficient as dipalmitoyl-trimethylammonium-propane (DPTAP). To establish the role of the helper lipid, DC-Chol liposomes were formulated in combination with either 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) or cholesterol (Chol) (1:1 molar ratio) with and without the addition of phosphatidyl choline. The choice of helper lipid incorporated within the bilayer was found to influence the formation of complexes, their resultant structure and their transfection efficiency in vitro, with SUV-DNA complexes containing optimum levels of DOPE giving higher transfection than those containing cholesterol. The inclusion of PC within the formulation also reduced transfection efficiency in vitro. However, when administered in vivo, SUV-DNA complexes composed of PC:Chol:DC-Chol at a molar ratio of 16:8:4 μmole/ml were the most effective at inducing splenocyte proliferation upon exposure to antigen in comparison to control spleens. These results demonstrate that there is no in vitro/in vivo correlation between the transfection efficacy of these liposome formulations and in vitro transfection in the above cell model cannot be taken as a reliable indicator for in vivo efficacy of DNA vaccines.
Keywords: Cationic liposomes, plasmid DNA, non-viral delivery system, in vitro, in vivo, transfection efficiency, cytokines
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