Genotoxicity of different nanocarriers: Possible modifications for the delivery of nucleic acids

Vatsal Shah, Oleh Taratula, Olga B. Garbuzenko, Mahesh L. Patil, Ronak Savla, Min Zhang, Tamara Minko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The prevention of cyto- and genotoxicity of nanocarriers is an important task in nanomedicine. In the present investigation, we, at the first time using similar experimental conditions, compared genotoxicity of nanocarriers with different composition, architecture, size, molecular weight and charge. Poly(ethylene glycol) polymers, neutral and cationic liposomes, micelles, poly(amindo amine) and poly(propyleneimine) dendrimers, quantum dots, mesoporous silica, and supermagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles were studied. All nanoparticles were used in non-cytotoxic concentrations. However, even in these concentrations, positively charged cationic liposomes, dendrimers, and SPIO nanoparticles induced genotoxicity leading to the significant formation of micronuclei in cells. Negatively charged and neutral nanocarriers were not genotoxic. A strong positive correlation was found between the number of formed micronuclei and the positive charge of nanocarriers. We proposed modifications of both types of dendrimers and SPIO nanoparticles that substantially decreased their genotoxicity and allowed for an efficient intracellular delivery of nucleic acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent drug discovery technologies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Drug Discovery


  • Formation of micronuclei
  • Nanogenotoxicology
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotoxicology
  • SiRNA delivery


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