Efficient delivery of an antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide formulated in folate receptor-targeted liposomes

Shih Jiuan Chiu, Guido Marcucci, Robert J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Folate receptors (FRs) are cellular surface markers for numerous solid tumors and myeloid leukemias. The aim of this study was to develop an antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide (ODN) carrier targeting FR-overexpressing cancer cells using folate (FA) as the targeting moiety. G3139, a phosphorothioate antisense ODN against human bcl2 mRNA, was evaluated in this study. Materials and Methods: G3139-containing liposomes were prepared using an ethanol dilution method. For the targeted formulation, 0.5 mol% of folate-PEG-DSPE was incorporated as a targeting ligand into cationic liposomes composed of DC-Chol/egg PC/PEG-DSPE at 25:65:10 mol/mol. Particle size and surface charge were measured and cellular uptake was assessed by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. The ODN-containing formulations were evaluated in FR+ KB cells for Bcl2 downregulation measured by Western blot. The cytotoxicity of the formulations was determined by MTT assay. Results: The G3139-containing liposomes had an average diameter of 80-90 nm with high ODN entrapment efficiency (70-80%). Incorporation of the folate ligand did not significantly alter the particle size and entrapment efficiency. The formulation exhibited colloidal stability in a serum-containing environment. In uptake studies, the folate-targeted formulation showed ligand concentration-dependent uptake that was up to 6-fold more efficient than that of the non-targeted formulation (p < 0.05). The uptake could be blocked by an excess amount of free folate, thus indicating an FR-dependent mechanism. Conclusion: FR-targeted G3139-containing liposomes showed promising transfection activity in KB cells. FR-targeted formulations were capable of specific targeting to FR-overexpressing cell lines and optimizing the amount of folate ligand in the liposomal formulation can result in more efficient antisense delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1056
Number of pages8
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number2 A
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Antisense delivery
  • Antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide
  • Bcl2
  • Drug targeting
  • Folate receptor
  • G3139
  • Leukemia
  • Liposomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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