A Facile Strategy to Prepare Hyperbranched Hydroxyl-Rich Polycations for Effective Gene Therapy

For effective gene therapy, nonviral gene carriers with low toxicity and high transfection efficiency are of much importance. In this work, we developed a facile strategy to prepare hyperbranched hydroxyl-rich polycations (denoted by TE) by the one-pot method involving ring-opening reactions between two commonly used reagents, ethylenediamine (ED) with two amino groups and 1,3,5-triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC) with three epoxy groups. The hyperbranched TEs with different molecular weights were investigated on their DNA condensation ability, protein absorption property, biocompatibility, transfection efficiency, and in vivo cancer therapy and toxicity. TE exhibited low cytotoxicity and protein absorption property due to the plentiful hydroxyl groups. The optimal transfection efficiency of TE was significantly higher than that of the gold standard polycationic gene carrier branched polyethylenimine (PEI, 25 kDa). Furthermore, TE was applied for in vivo tumor inhibition by the delivery of antioncogene p53, which showed good antitumor efficiency with low adverse effects. The present work provides a new concept for the facile preparation of hyperbranched hydroxyl-rich polycationic carriers with good transfection performances.