Solid nano-in-nanoparticles for potential delivery of siRNA

Orit Amsalem, Taher Nassar, Sandrine Benhamron, Philip Lazarovici, Simon Benita*, Eylon Yavin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


siRNA-based therapeutics possess great potential to treat a wide variety of genetic disorders. However, they suffer from low cellular uptake and short half-lives in blood circulation; issues that remain to be addressed. This work is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to report the production of solid nano-in-nanoparticles, termed double nano carriers (DNCs) by means of the innovative technology of nano spray drying. DNCs (with a median size of 580–770 nm) were produced by spraying at low temperatures (50 °C) to prevent damage to heat-sensitive biomacromolecules like siRNA. DNCs consisting of Poly (D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) used as a wall material, encapsulating 20% human serum albumin primary nanoparticles (PNPs) loaded with siRNA, were obtained as a dry nanoparticulate powder with smooth spherical surfaces and a unique inner morphology. Incubation of pegylated or non-pegylated DNCs under sink conditions at 37 °C, elicited a controlled release profile of the siRNA for up to 12 or 24 h, respectively, with a minimal burst effect. Prolonged incubation of pegylated DNCs loaded with active siRNA (anti EGFR) in an A549 epithelial cell culture monolayer did not induce any apparent cytotoxicity. A slow degradation of the internalized DNCs by the cells was also observed resulting in the progressive release of the siRNA for up to 6 days, as corroborated by laser confocal microscopy. The structural integrity and silencing activity of the double encapsulated siRNA were fully preserved, as demonstrated by HPLC, gel electrophoresis, and potent RNAi activity of siRNA extracted from DNCs. These results demonstrate the potential use of DNCs as a nano drug delivery system for systemic administration and controlled release of siRNA and potentially other sensitive bioactive macromolecules.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)144-155
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Controlled release
  • Double encapsulation
  • Nanocarriers
  • siRNA


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