Triazine Dendrimers as Nonviral Gene Delivery Systems: Effects of Molecular Structure on Biological Activity

A family of generation 1, 2, and 3 triazine dendrimers differing in their core flexibility was prepared and evaluated for their ability to accomplish gene transfection. Dendrimers and dendriplexes were analyzed by their physicochemical and biological properties such as condensation of DNA, size, surface charge, morphology of dendriplexes, toxic and hemolytic effects, and ultimately transfection efficiency in L929 and MeWo cells. Flexibility of the backbone was found to play an important role with generation 2 dendrimer displaying higher transfection efficiencies than 25 kDa poly(ethylene imine) or SuperFect at a lower cytotoxicity level. This result is surprising, as PAMAM dendrimers require generations 4 or 5 to become effective transfection reagents. The ability to delineate effects of molecular structure and generation of triazine dendrimers with biological properties provides valuable clues for further modifying this promising class of nonviral delivery system.