[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We adopted a rational approach to design cationic lipids for use in formulations to deliver small interfering RNA (siRNA). Starting with the ionizable cationic lipid 1,2-dilinoleyloxy-3-dimethylaminopropane (DLinDMA), a key lipid component of stable nucleic acid lipid particles (SNALP) as a benchmark, we used the proposed in vivo mechanism of action of ionizable cationic lipids to guide the design of DLinDMA-based lipids with superior delivery capacity. The best-performing lipid recovered after screening (DLin-KC2-DMA) was formulated and characterized in SNALP and demonstrated to have in vivo activity at siRNA doses as low as 0.01 mg/kg in rodents and 0.1 mg/kg in nonhuman primates. To our knowledge, this represents a substantial improvement over previous reports of in vivo endogenous hepatic gene silencing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of innate immunity has direct effects in modulating viral replication, tumor growth, angiogenesis, and inflammatory and other immunological processes. It is now established that unmodified siRNA can activate this innate immune response and therefore there is real potential for siRNA to elicit nonspecific therapeutic effects in a wide range of disease models. Here we demonstrate that in a murine model of influenza infection, the antiviral activity of siRNA is due primarily to immune stimulation elicited by the active siRNA duplexes and is not the result of therapeutic RNA interference (RNAi) as previously reported. We show that the misinterpretation stems from the use of a particular control green fluorescent protein (GFP) siRNA that we identify as having unusually low immunostimulatory activity compared with the active anti-influenza siRNA. Curiously, this GFP siRNA has served as a negative control for a surprising number of groups reporting therapeutic effects of siRNA. The inert immunologic profile of the GFP sequence was unique among a broad panel of published siRNAs, all of which could elicit significant interferon induction from primary immune cells. This panel included eight active siRNAs against viral, angiogenic, and oncologic targets, the reported therapeutic efficacy of which was based on comparison with the nonimmunostimulatory GFP siRNA. These results emphasize the need for researchers to anticipate, monitor, and adequately control for siRNA-mediated immune stimulation and calls into question the interpretation of numerous published reports of therapeutic RNAi in vivo. The use of chemically modified siRNA with minimal immunostimulatory capacity will help to delineate more accurately the mechanism of action underlying such studies.
Human gene therapy 09/2008; 19(10):991-9. · 4.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNA molecules such as single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) and small interfering RNA (siRNA) duplexes induce Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated immune stimulation after intracellular delivery. We have previously shown that selective incorporation of 2'-O-methyl (2'OMe) residues into siRNA abrogates cytokine production without reduction of gene silencing activity. Here we show that 2'OMe-modified RNA acts as a potent inhibitor of RNA-mediated cytokine induction in both human and murine systems. This activity does not require the direct incorporation of 2'OMe nucleotides into the immunostimulatory RNA or that the 2'OMe nucleotide-containing RNA be annealed as a complementary strand to form a duplex. Our results indicate that 2'OMe RNA acts as a potent antagonist of immunostimulatory RNA. We further show that 2'OMe RNA is able significantly to reduce both interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) induction by the small-molecule TLR7 agonist loxoribine in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (human PBMCs), in murine Flt3L dendritic cells (Flt3L DCs), and in vivo in mice. These results indicate that 2'OMe-modified RNA may have utility as an inhibitor of TLR7 with potential applications in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases that involve TLR7-mediated immune stimulation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The opportunity to harness the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway to silence disease-causing genes holds great promise for the development of therapeutics directed against targets that are otherwise not addressable with current medicines. Although there are numerous examples of in vivo silencing of target genes after local delivery of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), there remain only a few reports of RNAi-mediated silencing in response to systemic delivery of siRNA, and there are no reports of systemic efficacy in non-rodent species. Here we show that siRNAs, when delivered systemically in a liposomal formulation, can silence the disease target apolipoprotein B (ApoB) in non-human primates. APOB-specific siRNAs were encapsulated in stable nucleic acid lipid particles (SNALP) and administered by intravenous injection to cynomolgus monkeys at doses of 1 or 2.5 mg kg(-1). A single siRNA injection resulted in dose-dependent silencing of APOB messenger RNA expression in the liver 48 h after administration, with maximal silencing of >90%. This silencing effect occurred as a result of APOB mRNA cleavage at precisely the site predicted for the RNAi mechanism. Significant reductions in ApoB protein, serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels were observed as early as 24 h after treatment and lasted for 11 days at the highest siRNA dose, thus demonstrating an immediate, potent and lasting biological effect of siRNA treatment. Our findings show clinically relevant RNAi-mediated gene silencing in non-human primates, supporting RNAi therapeutics as a potential new class of drugs.