J Korean Med Sci.  2021 Dec;36(49):e333. 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e333.

Vimentin Targeted Nano-gene Carrier for Treatment of Renal Diseases

  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea
  • 2BioMedical Sciences Graduate Program (BMSGP), Chonnam National University, Hwasun, Korea
  • 3Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea
  • 5School of Materials Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Engineering, Gwangju, Korea


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a global health problem, and there is no permanent treatment for reversing kidney failure; thus, early diagnosis and effective treatment are required. Gene therapy has outstanding potential; however, the lack of safe gene delivery vectors, a reasonable transfection rate, and kidney targeting ability limit its application. Nanoparticles can offer innovative ways to diagnose and treat kidney diseases as they facilitate targetability and therapeutic efficacy.
Herein, we developed a proximal renal tubule-targeting gene delivery system based on alternative copolymer (PS) of sorbitol and polyethyleneimine (PEI), modified with vimentin-specific chitobionic acid (CA), producing PS-conjugated CA (PSC) for targeting toward vimentin-expressing cells in the kidneys. In vitro studies were used to determine cell viability, transfection efficiency, serum influence, and specific uptake in the human proximal renal tubular epithelial cell line (HK-2). Finally, the targeting efficiency of the prepared PSC gene carriers was checked in a murine model of Alport syndrome.
Our results suggested that the prepared polyplex showed low cytotoxicity, enhanced transfection efficiency, specific uptake toward HK-2 cells, and excellent targeting efficiency toward the kidneys.
Collectively, from these results it can be inferred that the PSC can be further evaluated as a potential gene carrier for the kidney-targeted delivery of therapeutic genes for treating diseases.


Kidney; Polyethyleneimine; Chitobionic Acid; Targeted Delivery; HK-2 Cells
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