Int J Nanomedicine 2018 18;13:1-18. Epub 2017 Dec 18.
Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Research Laboratories.
Recent findings in nanomedicine have revealed that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can be used as potential drug carriers, therapeutic agents and diagnostics tools. Moreover, due to their ability to cross cellular membranes, their nanosize dimension, high surface area and relatively good biocompatibility, CNTs have also been employed as a novel gene delivery vector system. In our previous work, we functionalized CNTs with two polyamine polymers, polyethyleneimine (PEI) and polyamidoamine dendrimer (PAMAM). These compounds have low cytotoxicity, ability to conjugate microRNAs (such as miR-503) and, at the same time, transfect efficiently endothelial cells. The parameters contributing to the good efficiency of transfection that we observed were not investigated in detail. In fact, the diameter and length of CNTs are important parameters to be taken into account when evaluating the effects on drug delivery efficiency. In order to investigate the biophysical and biological contributions of polymer-coated CNTs in delivery of miRNAs to human cells, we decided to investigate three different preparations, characterized by different dimensions and aspect ratios. In particular, we took into account very small CNTs, a suspension of CNTs starting from the commercial product and a 2D material based on CNTs (ie, buckypapers [BPs]) to examine the transfection efficiency of a rigid scaffold. In conclusion, we extensively investigated the biophysical and biological contributions of polyamine-coated CNTs and bidimensional BPs in the delivery of miRNAs to human cells, in order to optimize the transfection efficiency of these compounds to be employed as efficient drug delivery vectors in biomedical applications.