Development of Lipidoid Nanoparticles for siRNA Delivery to Neural Cells



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

The AAPS journal





First Page



C12-200, lipidoid nanoparticle, neural cell, siRNA, transfection


Lipidoid nanoparticles (LNPs) are the delivery platform in Onpattro, the first FDA-approved siRNA drug. LNPs are also the carriers in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. While these applications have demonstrated that LNPs effectively deliver nucleic acids to hepatic and muscle cells, it is unclear if LNPs could be used for delivery of siRNA to neural cells, which are notoriously challenging delivery targets. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if LNPs could efficiently deliver siRNA to neurons. Because of their potential delivery utility in either applications for the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, we used both cortical neurons and sensory neurons. We prepared siRNA-LNPs using C12-200, a benchmark ionizable cationic lipidoid along with helper lipids. We demonstrated using dynamic light scattering that the inclusion of both siRNA and PEG-lipid provided a stabilizing effect to the LNP particle diameters and polydispersity indices by minimizing aggregation. We found that siRNA-LNPs were safely tolerated by primary dorsal root ganglion neurons. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that Cy5 siRNA delivered via LNPs into rat primary cortical neurons showed uptake levels similar to Lipofectamine RNAiMAX-the gold standard commercial transfection agent. However, LNPs demonstrated a superior safety profile, whereas the Lipofectamine-mediated uptake was concomitant with significant toxicity. Fluorescence microscopy demonstrated a time-dependent increase in the uptake of LNP-delivered Cy5 siRNA in a human cortical neuron cell line. Overall, our results suggest that LNPs are a viable platform that can be optimized for delivery of therapeutic siRNAs to neural cells.

Open Access

Green Final