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Theranostic Niosomes for Efficient siRNA/microRNA Delivery and Activatable Near-Infrared Fluorescent Tracking of Stem Cells

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RNA interference (RNAi) mediated gene regulation in stem cells offers great potential in regenerative medicine. In this study, we developed a theranostic platform for efficient delivery of small RNAs (siRNA/miRNA) to human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) to promote differentiation, and meanwhile, to specifically label the transfected cells for in vivo tracking purpose. We encapsulated indocyanine green (ICG) in a nonionic surfactant vesicle, termed “niosome”, that is mainly composed of a nonionic surfactant sorbitan monooleate (Span 80) and a cationic lipid 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane (DOTAP). This novel ICG containing niosome system (iSPN) demonstrated highly efficient siRNA and microRNA delivery in hMSCs. Specific inhibition of miR-138, a negative regulator of osteoblast differentiation, was achieved by iSPN/miR-138, which significantly promoted osteogenesis of hMSCs. Furthermore, iSPN exhibited OFF/ON activatable fluorescence upon cellular internalization, resulting in efficient NIR labeling and the capability to dynamically monitor stem cells in mice. In addition, iSPN/siRNA achieved simultaneous long-term cell tracking and in vivo gene silencing after implantation in mice. These results indicate that our theranostic niosomes could represent a promising platform for future development of stem cell-based therapy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalA C S Applied Materials and Interfaces
Pages (from-to)19494–19503
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • indocyanine green, microRNA, osteogenic differentiation, siRNA, stem cells tracking, theranostics

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