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Gold Nanoparticles Enhanced Electroporation for Mammalian Cell Transfection

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Electroporation figured prominently as an effective nonviral gene delivery approach for its balance on the transfection efficiency and cell viability, no restrictions of probe or cell type, and operation simplicity. The commercial electroporation systems have been widely adopted in the past two decades while still carry drawbacks associated with the high applied electric voltage, unsatisfied delivery efficiency, and/or low cell viability. By adding highly conductive gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in electroporation solution, we demonstrated enhanced electroporation performance (i.e., better DNA delivery efficiency and higher cell viability) on mammalian cells from two different aspects: the free, naked AuNPs reduce the resistance of the electroporation solution so that the local pulse strength on cells was enhanced; targeting AuNPs (e.g., Tf-AuNPs) were brought to the cell membrane to work as virtual microelectrodes to porate cells with limited area from many different sites. The enhancement was confirmed with leukemia cells in both a commercial batch electroporation system and a home-made flow-through system using pWizGFP plasmid DNA probes. Such enhancement depends on the size, concentration, and the mixing ratio of free AuNPs/Tf-AuNPs. An equivalent mixture of free AuNPs and Tf-AuNPs exhibited the best enhancement with the transfection efficiency increased 2–3 folds at minimum sacrifice of cell viability. This new delivery concept, the combination of nanoparticles and electroporation technologies, may stimulate various in vitro and in vivo biomedical applications which rely on the efficient delivery of nucleic acids, anticancer drugs, or other therapeutic materials.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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