Title

Novel pH-sensitive cationic lipids with linear ortho ester linkers for gene delivery

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry

ISSN

0223-5234

Volume

52

DOI

10.1016/j.ejmech.2012.03.013

First Page

159

Last Page

172

Publication Date

6-1-2012

Abstract

In an effort to develop pH-sensitive lipoplexes for efficient gene delivery, we report three novel cationic lipids containing a linear ortho ester linker that conjugates either the headgroup (Type I) or one hydrocarbon chain (Type II) with the rest of the lipid molecule. The cationic lipids carry either an iodide or a chloride counterion. Compared to our previously reported cyclic ortho ester linker, the linear ortho ester linker facilitated the construction of cationic liposomes and lipoplexes with different helper lipids. The chloride counterion not only facilitated the hydration of the lipid films during liposome construction, but also enhanced the hydrolysis of the ortho ester linker in the lipoplexes. After incubation at endosomal pH 5.5, the Type I lipoplexes aggregated and destabilized the endosome-mimicking model liposomes, but not the Type II lipoplexes. The helper lipids (DOPE or cholesterol) of the lipoplexes enhanced the pH-sensitivity of the Type I lipoplexes. In CV-1 cells (monkey kidney fibroblast), the Type I ortho ester-based lipoplexes, especially those with the chloride counterion, significantly improved the gene transfection efficiency, in some cases by more than 100 fold, compared to their pH-insensitive counterparts consisting of DOTAP. The gene transfection efficiency of the ortho ester-based lipoplexes was well correlated with their rate of aggregation and membrane destabilization in response to the endosomal pH 5.5.