Influence of particle size on thein vivopotency of lipid nanoparticle formulations of siRNA

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Abstract

Lipid nanoparticles (LNP) can provide a clinically effective method for delivering small interfering RNA (siRNA) to silence pathological genes in hepatocytes. The gene silencing potency of these LNP-siRNA systems has been shown to depend on a variety of factors including association with serum factors such as ApoE and the pKa of component ionizable lipids. Here we investigate the influence of LNP size, an important parameter affecting tissue penetration of LNP systems, on the pharmacokinetics, biodistribution, and hepatic gene silencing potency of LNP-siRNA systems following intravenous administration. For LNP systems stabilized by a polyethylene glycol (PEG)-lipid that can dissociate from the LNP following injection, it is shown that small (diameter ≤ 30 nm) systems are considerably less potent than their larger counterparts. This is attributed in part to the ability of other lipid components, particularly the ionizable amino-lipid, to dissociate from the LNP following dissociation of the PEG-lipid. Small LNP stabilized by PEG-lipids with slow dissociation rates exhibited much reduced amino-lipid dissociation rates, however such systems are relatively impotent due to the continued presence of the PEG coating. These results demonstrate the delicate balance between the in vivo potency of LNP-siRNA systems and the residence times of component lipids in the LNP particle itself and suggest new directions to optimize the in vivo gene silencing potency of small LNP-siRNA systems.

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