Regulating immune response using polyvalent nucleic acid-gold nanoparticle conjugates

Matthew D. Massich, David A. Giljohann, Dwight S. Seferos, Louise E. Ludlow, Curt M. Horvath, Chad A. Mirkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


The immune response of macrophage cells to internalized polyvalent nucleic acid-functionalized gold nanoparticles has been studied. This study finds that the innate immune response (as measured by interferon-β levels) to densely functionalized, oligonucleotide-modified nanoparticles is significantly less (up to a 25-fold decrease) when compared to a lipoplex carrying the same DNA sequence. The magnitude of this effect is inversely proportional to oligonucleotide density. It is proposed that the enzymes involved in recognizing foreign nucleic acids and triggering the immune response are impeded due to the local surface environment of the particle, in particular high charge density. The net effect is an intracelluar gene regulation agent that elicits a significantly lower cellular immune response than conventional DNA transfection materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1934-1940
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 7 2009


  • DNA
  • Gene regulation
  • Gold
  • Innate immune
  • Interferon
  • Nanoparticle
  • Nucleic acid
  • Oligonucleotide
  • Polyvalent
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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