• polycation;
  • biocompatibility;
  • self-assembly


Polycations are very useful in biotechnology. However, most existing polycations have high toxicity that significantly limits their clinical translation. We designed poly(ethylene argininylaspartate diglyceride) (PEAD) that is based on arginine, aspartic acid, glycerol, and ethylene glycol. A set of in vitro assays demonstrated that PEAD exhibited no cytotoxicity at 1 mg/mL, which is at least 100 times higher than the widely used polycation-polyethylenimine. Subcutaneous injection of 1 mg PEAD in rats did not cause an adverse response acutely or after 4 weeks. Zeta potential measurements revealed that PEAD has high affinity to biological polyanions such as DNA and hyaluronic acid. This polycation represents a new platform of biocompatible polycations that may lead to clinical innovations in gene therapy, controlled release, tissue engineering, biosensors, and medical devices © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2012