Synthesis, characterization and transfection activity of new saturated and unsaturated cationic lipids

Silvia Arpicco, Silvana Canevari, Maurizio Ceruti, Enrico Galmozzi, Flavio Rocco, Luigi Cattel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We synthesized new cationic lipids, analogue to N-[1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy) propyl]-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride (DOTMA) and 1,2-dimyristyloxypropyl-3- dimethyl-hydroxyethylammonium bromide (DMRIE), in order to compare those containing a dodecyl chain with those having a relatively long chain with two or five double bonds, such as squalenyl and dihydrofarnesyl derivatives, or complex saturated structures, such as squalane derivatives. The fusogenic helper lipid dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) was added to cationic lipids to form a stable complex. Liposomes composed of 50:50 w/w cationic lipid/DOPE were prepared and incubated with plasmidic DNA at various charge ratios and the diameter and zeta potential of the complexes were measured. The surface charge of the DNA/lipid complexes can be controlled by adjusting the cationic lipid/DNA ratio. Finally, we tested the in vitro transfection efficiency of the cationic lipid/DNA complexes using different cell lines. The transfection efficiency was highest for the dodecyloxy derivative containing a single hydroxyethyl group in the head, followed by the dodecyloxy and the farnesyloxy trimethylammonium derivatives. Instead the C27 squalenyl and C27 squalanyl derivatives resulted inactive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-878
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Cationic lipids
  • Liposomes
  • Plasmidic DNA
  • Transfection activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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