Systematic study of liposomes composition towards efficient delivery of plasmid DNA as potential application of dermal fibroblasts targeting

C. Bellefroid, C. Reusch, A. Lechanteur, B. Evrard, Florence Debacq-Chainiaux, D. Mottet, G. Piel

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The use of non-viral DNA vectors to topically treat skin diseases has demonstrated a high potential. However, vectors applied on the skin face extracellular barriers including the stratum corneum and intracellular barriers such as the endosomal escape and the nuclear targeting of the plasmid DNA. The aim of this study was to develop a formulation suitable for dermal application and effective for delivering plasmid DNA into cells. Different formulations were prepared using different cationic lipids (DOTAP, DC-Chol, DOTMA) and co-lipids (DOPE, DSPE). Lipoplexes were produced by complexing liposomes with plasmid DNA at different pDNA/CL (w/w) ratios. Our results showed that appropriate pDNA/CL ratios allowing total complexation of plasmid DNA differed depending on the structure of the lipid used. The transfection rates showed that (i) higher rates were obtained with DOTMA lipoplexes, (ii) DC-Chol lipoplexes provided a transfection twice as important as DOTAP lipoplexes and (iii) when DSPE was added, the cytotoxicity decreased while transfection rates were similar. We found that formulations composed of DC-Chol:DOPE:DSPE or DOTMA:DOPE were appropriate to complex plasmid DNA and to transfect human primary dermal fibroblasts with efficacy and limited cytotoxicity. Therefore, these formulations are highly promising in the context of gene therapy to treat skin diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120122
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2021


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Flexible liposome
  • Plasmid DNA
  • Skin delivery
  • Transfection

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