Poly (4-vinylimidazole) as nonviral gene carrier: In vitro and in vivo transfection

Jong Eun Ihm, Ki Ok Han, Chang Sun Hwang, Jong Hee Kang, Kwang Duk Ahn, In Kwon Han, Dong Keun Han, Jeffrey A. Hubbell, Chong Su Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We explored poly(4-vinylimidazole) (P4V) as a nonviral gene carrier. We show that P4V can form DNA condensates of small size (<110 nm) using a dye-exclusion assay with ethidium bromide and dynamic light scattering, and that the complexes form in a pH-sensitive manner, due to the amphotericity of the polymer. P4V was demonstrated to lead to transfection in vitro as effectively as polyethyleneimine (PEI), but at lower cytotoxicity, under conditions where higher amounts of either polymer are required, using luciferase and green fluorescent protein as examples. Transfection in vivo was also explored, using a gene encoding yellow fluorescent protein and human osteoprotegerin injected in the tail vein of the rat. Transfection was observed, both at the gene and protein levels in lung and spleen tissue. Transfection in vivo appeared to be at least as effective using P4V as with PEI. Based upon this good transfection and low cytotoxicity, P4V seems to show promise as a nonviral gene transfer vector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-172
Number of pages8
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Gene transfer
  • Nonviral vectors
  • Polyimidazoles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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