Silica-iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles modified for gene delivery: A search for optimum and quantitative criteria

Olga Mykhaylyk, Titus Sobisch, Isabella Almstätter, Yolanda Sanchez-Antequera, Sabine Brandt, Martina Anton, Markus Döblinger, Dietmar Eberbeck, Marcus Settles, Rickmer Braren, Dietmar Lerche, Christian Plank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Purpose: To optimize silica-iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles with surface phosphonate groups decorated with 25-kD branched polyethylenimine (PEI) for gene delivery. Methods: Surface composition, charge, colloidal stabilities, associations with adenovirus, magneto-tranduction efficiencies, cell internalizations, in vitro toxicities and MRI relaxivities were tested for the particles decorated with varying amounts of PEI. Results: Moderate PEI-decoration of MNPs results in charge reversal and destabilization. Analysis of space and time resolved concentration changes during centrifugation clearly revealed that at >5% PEI loading flocculation gradually decreases and sufficient stabilization is achieved at >10%. The association with adenovirus occurred efficiently at levels over 5% PEI, resulting in the complexes stable in 50% FCS at a PEI-to-iron w/w ratio of ≥7%; the maximum magneto-transduction efficiency was achieved at 9-12%PEI. Primary silica iron oxide nanoparticles and those with 11.5% PEI demonstrated excellent r2* relaxivity values (>600 s-1(mM Fe)-1) for the free and cell-internalized particles. Conclusions: Surface decoration of the silica-iron oxide nanoparticles with a PEI-to-iron w/w ratio of 10-12% yields stable aqueous suspensions, allows for efficient viral gene delivery and labeled cell detection by MRI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1344-1365
Number of pages22
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Colloidal stability
  • MRI relaxivity
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • Silica-polyethylenimine coating
  • Transduction


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