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Using small interfering RNA (siRNA) to regulate gene expression is an emerging strategy for stem cell manipulation to improve stem cell therapy. However, conventional methods of siRNA delivery into stem cells based on solution-mediated transfection are limited due to low transfection efficiency and insufficient duration of cell-siRNA contact during lengthy culturing protocols. To overcome these limitations, a bio-inspired polymer-mediated reverse transfection system is developed consisting of implantable poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds functionalized with siRNA-lipidoid nanoparticle (sLNP) complexes via polydopamine (pDA) coating. Immobilized sLNP complexes are stably maintained without any loss of siRNA on the pDA-coated scaffolds for 2 weeks, likely due to the formation of strong covalent bonds between amine groups of sLNP and catechol group of pDA. siRNA reverse transfection with the pDA-sLNP-PLGA system does not exhibit cytotoxicity and induces efficient silencing of an osteogenesis inhibitor gene in human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs), resulting in enhanced osteogenic differentiation of hADSCs. Finally, hADSCs osteogenically committed on the pDA-sLNP-PLGA scaffolds enhanced bone formation in a mouse model of critical-sized bone defect. Therefore, the bio-inspired reverse transfection system can provide an all-in-one platform for genetic modification, differentiation, and transplantation of stem cells, simultaneously enabling both stem cell manipulation and tissue engineering.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





6266 - 6278


lipidoid nanoparticles, osteogenic differentiation, polydopamine, siRNA reverse transfection, stem cells, Adipose Tissue, Bone Regeneration, Cell Differentiation, Humans, Lactic Acid, Osteogenesis, Polyglycolic Acid, Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer, RNA, Small Interfering, Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering, Tissue Scaffolds