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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

The Design of Cationic Lipids for Gene Delivery

Author(s): B. Martin, M. Sainlos, A. Aissaoui, N. Oudrhiri, M. Hauchecorne, J.- P. Vigneron, J.- M. Lehn and P. Lehn

Volume 11, Issue 3, 2005

Page: [375 - 394] Pages: 20

DOI: 10.2174/1381612053382133

Price: $65


Synthetic gene delivery vectors are gaining increasing importance in gene therapy as an alternative to recombinant viruses. Among the various types of non-viral vectors, cationic lipids are especially attractive as they can be prepared with relative ease and extensively characterised. Further, each of their constituent parts can be modified, thereby facilitating the elucidation of structure-activity relationships. In this forward-looking review, cationic lipid-mediated gene delivery will mainly be discussed in terms of the structure of the three basic constituent parts of any cationic lipid: the polar headgroup, hydrophobic moiety and linker. Particular emphasis will be placed on recent advances in the field as well as on our own original contributions. In addition to reviewing critical physicochemical features (such as headgroup hydration) of monovalent lipids, the use of headgroups with known nucleic-acid binding modes, such as linear and branched polyamines, aminoglycosides and guanidinium functions, will be comprehensively assessed. A particularly exciting innovation in linker design is the incorporation of environment-sensitive groups, the intracellular hydrolysis of which may lead to more controlled DNA delivery. Examples of pH-, redox- and enzyme-sensitive functional groups integrated into the linker are highlighted and the benefits of such degradable vectors can be evaluated in terms of transfection efficiency and cationic lipid-associated cytotoxicity. Finally, possible correlations between the length and type of hydrophobic moiety and transfection efficiency will be discussed. In conclusion it may be foreseen that in order to be successful, the future of cationic lipid-based gene delivery will probably require the development of sophisticated virus-like systems, which can be viewed as “programmed supramolecular systems” incorporating the various functions required to perform in a chronological order the different steps involved in gene transfection.

Keywords: gene therapy, transfection, non-viral vector, cationic lipid, design, headgroup, hydrophobic domain, linker

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