Design and synthesis of N 4,N 9-disubstituted spermines for non-viral siRNA delivery – structure-activity relationship studies of siFection efficiency versus toxicity

Moustafa K. Soltan, Hassan M. Ghonaim, Mohamed El Sadek, M. Abou Kull, Lubna Abd El-aziz, Ian S. Blagbrough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. To study the effect of sequentially changing the chain length, oxidation level, and charge distribution in N-4,N-9-diacyl and N-4,N-9-dialkyl spermines on siRNA formulation, and then to compare their lipoplex transfection efficiency in cell lines. Methods. Eight N-4,N-9-diacyl polyamines: N-4,N-9-[didecanoyl, dilauroyl, dimyristoyl, dimyristoleoyl, dipalmitoyl, distearoyl, dioleoyl and diretinoyl]-1,12-diamino-4,9-diazadodecane were synthesized. Their abilities to bind to siRNA and form nanoparticles were studied using a RiboGreen intercalation assay and particle sizing. Two diamides were also reduced to afford tetraamines N-4,N-9-distearyl- and N-4, N-9-dioleyl-1,12-diamino-4,9-diazadodecane. Delivery of fluorescein-labelled Label IT (R) RNAi Delivery Control was studied in FEK4 primary skin cells and in an immortalized cancer cell line (HtTA), and compared with TransIT-TKO. Results. The design, synthesis, and structure-activity relationship studies of a series of N-4,N-9-disubstituted spermines as efficient vectors for non-viral siRNA delivery to primary skin and cancer cell lines is reported. These non-liposomal cationic lipids are promising siRNA carriers based on the naturally occurring polyamine spermine showing that C-18 is a better chain length as shorter chains are more toxic. Conclusions. N-4,N-9-Distearoyl spermine and N-4,N-9-dioleoyl spermine are efficient siRNA formulation and delivery vectors, even in the presence of serum, comparable to TransIT-TKO. However, four positive charges distributed as in spermine was significantly more toxic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-295
Number of pages10
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • NVGT
  • siRNA delivery
  • N-4
  • N-9-dioleoyl spermine
  • Lipopolyamines
  • Primary skin cells


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