Spontaneous gene transfection of human bone cells using 3D mineralized alginate-chitosan macrocapsules

David W. Green, Eun Jung Kim, Han Sung Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The effectiveness of nonviral gene therapy remains uncertain because of low transfection efficiencies and high toxicities compared with viral-based strategies. We describe a simple system for transient transfection of continuous human cell lines, with low toxicity, using mineral-coated chitosan and alginate capsules. As proof-of-concept, we demonstrate transfection of Saos-2 and MG63 human osteosarcoma continuous cell lines with gfp, LacZ reporter genes, and a Sox-9 carrying plasmid, to illustrate expression of a functional gene with therapeutic relevance. We show that continuous cell lines transfect with significant efficiency of up to 65% possibly through the interplay between chitosan and DNA complexation and calcium/phosphate-induced translocation into cells entrapped within the 3D polysaccharide based environment, as evidenced by an absence of transfection in unmineralized and chitosan-free capsules. We demonstrated that our transfection system was equally effective at transfection of primary human bone marrow stromal cells. To illustrate, the Sox-9, DNA plasmid was spontaneously expressed in primary human bone marrow stromal cells at 7 days with up to 90% efficiency in two repeats. Mineralized polysaccharide macrocapsules are gene delivery vehicles with a number of biological and practical advantages. They are highly efficient at self-transfecting primary bone cells, with programmable spatial and temporal delivery prospects, premineralized bone-like environments, and have no cytotoxic effects, as compared with many other nonviral systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2855-2863
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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