D Liu

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (12)44.89 Total impact

  • Source
    K S Kim · Y Lei · D B Stolz · D Liu
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    ABSTRACT: A series of bifunctional compounds with galactosyl residues as targeting ligand for asialoglycoprotein receptors on hepatocytes and various dendrimers as the DNA-binding domain was synthesized. When mixed with plasmid DNA, these compounds self assembled into particles that exhibited high transfection activity both in vitro and in vivo. Optimal activity in liver cells was observed with compounds containing three galactosyl residues and 16 dendrimer arms. These results suggest that domain-based design is an effective strategy for development of a new generation of synthetic gene carriers.
    Gene Therapy 05/2007; 14(8):704-8. DOI:10.1038/sj.gt.3302917 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    T Suda · X Gao · D B Stolz · D Liu
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    ABSTRACT: The impact of hydrodynamic injection on liver structure was evaluated in mice using various microscopic techniques. Upon hydrodynamic injection of approximately 9% of body weight by volume, the liver rapidly expanded, reaching maximal size at the end of the injection and returned to its original size in 30 min. Histological analysis revealed a swollen appearance in the peri-central region of the liver where delivery of genes and fluorescence-labeled markers was observed. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy showed enlargement and rupture of endothelium that in about 24-48 h regains its morphology and normal function as a barrier against infection by adenovirus viral particles. At the cellular level in hydrodynamically treated animals, four types of hepatocytes were seen: cells with normal appearance; cells with enriched vesicles in the cytoplasm; cells with lightly stained cytosol; and cells with significant dilution of the cytoplasm. In addition, red blood cells and platelets were observed in the space of Disse and even inside hepatocytes. Vesicle formation is triggered by hydrodynamic injection and resembles the process of macropinocytosis. These results, whereas confirming the physical nature of hydrodynamic delivery, are important for a better understanding of this efficient method for intrahepatic gene and small interfering RNA delivery.
    Gene Therapy 02/2007; 14(2):129-37. DOI:10.1038/sj.gt.3302865 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have reported that a rapid tail vein injection of a large volume of plasmid DNA solution into a mouse results in high level of transgene expression in the liver. Gene transfer efficiency of this hydrodynamics-based procedure is determined by the combined effect of a large volume and high injection speed. Here, we show that the hydrodynamic injection induces a transient irregularity of heart function, a sharp increase in venous pressure, an enlargement of liver fenestrae, and enhancement of membrane permeability of the hepatocytes. At the cellular level, our results suggest that hepatic delivery by the hydrodynamic injection is accomplished by the generation of membrane pores in the hepatocytes.
    Gene Therapy 05/2004; 11(8):675-82. DOI:10.1038/sj.gt.3302210 · 4.20 Impact Factor
  • D Liu · J E Knapp
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    ABSTRACT: The need for a safe and efficient method for gene delivery has stimulated the recent emergence of vectorless methods (e.g., naked DNA) as promising alternatives to the available viral- and non-viral-based systems. Among these methods, hydrodynamics-based gene delivery through systemic injection of DNA offers a convenient, efficient and powerful means for high-level gene expression in mice. This review deals with the background and progress made so far with this new gene delivery method, the potential mechanism underlying the hydrodynamics-based DNA transfer into cells and its potential applications towards gene function analysis, protein expression and gene therapy in whole animals.
    Current opinion in molecular therapeutics 05/2001; 3(2):192-7. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    G Zhang · Y K Song · D Liu
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    ABSTRACT: The liver is an important target organ for gene transfer due to its large capacity for synthesizing serum proteins and its involvement in numerous genetic and acquired diseases. Previously, we and others have shown that an efficient gene transfer to liver cells in vivo can be achieved by an intravenous injection of plasmid DNA using a hydrodynamics-based procedure. In this study, we systematically characterized the expression of transgene encoding a secretory protein in mouse. Using human alpha1-antitrypsin (hAAT) gene as a reporter, we demonstrate that the serum level of hAAT can reach as high as 0.5 mg/ml by a simple tail vein injection of 10-50 microg plasmid DNA into a mouse. The serum hAAT reaches the peak level 1 day after DNA injection and then declines during the following 2 to 4 weeks to 2-5 microg/ml, a level which persists for at least 6 months. Southern analysis of extracted DNA and RT-PCR analysis of RNA from the liver reveal that hAAT gene is active and present as episomal form after 6 months. These results suggest that the hydrodynamics-based transfection procedure provides a valuable tool for screening genes for therapeutic purposes in whole animals.
    Gene Therapy 09/2000; 7(15):1344-9. DOI:10.1038/sj.gt.3301229 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    T Ren · YK Song · G Zhang · D Liu
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    ABSTRACT: Eleven structural analogues of two known cationic lipids, N-[1-(2, 3-dioleyloxy)propyl]-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride (DOTMA) and N-[1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy)propyl]-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride (DOTAP) were synthesized and utilized to evaluate the structural characteristics of DOTMA for its high intravenous transfection activity. Using a CMV-driven expression system and luciferase gene as a reporter, the transfection activity of these analogues was evaluated in mice using tail vein injection. Results concerning the structure-activity relationship with regard to the influence of the backbone, relative position between head group and the hydrophobic chains on the backbone, linkage bonds, as well as the composition of the aliphatic chains revealed that cationic lipids which give a higher in vivo transfection activity share the following structural characteristics: (1) cationic head group and its neighboring aliphatic chain being in a 1,2-relationship on the backbone; (2) ether bond for bridging the aliphatic chains to the backbone; and (3) paired oleyl chains as the hydrophobic anchor. Cationic lipids without these structural features had lower in vivo transfection activity. These structural characteristics, however, did not significantly influence their in vitro transfection activity. The contribution that cationic lipids make to the overall in vivo transfection activity is likely to be determined by the structure of DNA/lipid complexes and by the outcome of the interaction between the DNA/lipid complexes and blood components upon intravenous administration.
    Gene Therapy 06/2000; 7(9):764-8. DOI:10.1038/sj.gt.3301153 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    F Liu · YK Song · D Liu
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    ABSTRACT: Development of methods that allow an efficient expression of exogenous genes in animals would provide tools for gene function studies, treatment of diseases and for obtaining gene products. Therefore, we have developed a hydrodynamics-based procedure for expressing transgenes in mice by systemic administration of plasmid DNA. Using cDNA of luciferase and beta-galactosidase as a reporter gene, we demonstrated that an efficient gene transfer and expression can be achieved by a rapid injection of a large volume of DNA solution into animals via the tail vein. Among the organs expressing the transgene, the liver showed the highest level of gene expression. As high as 45 microg of luciferase protein per gram of liver can be achi- eved by a single tail vein injection of 5 microg of plasmid DNA into a mouse. Histochemical analysis using beta-galactosidase gene as a reporter reveals that approximately 40percent of hepatocytes express the transgene. The time-response curve shows that the level of transgene expression in the liver reaches the peak level in approximately 8 h after injection and decreases thereafter. The peak level of gene expression can be regained by repeated injection of plasmid DNA. These results suggest that a simple, convenient and efficient method has been developed and which can be used as an effective means for studying gene function, gene regulation and molecular pathophysiology through gene transfer, as well as for expressing proteins in animals.
    Gene Therapy 08/1999; 6(7):1258-66. DOI:10.1038/sj.gt.3300947 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    YK Song · F Liu · D Liu
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of retention time of plasmid DNA in mouse lung on the level of transgene expression after intravenous administration was examined. Using CMV driven expression system with luciferase gene as a reporter and preinjection of free cationic liposomes into the animal as means of manipulating the retention time of plasmid DNA, we demonstrated that naked plasmid DNA is effective in transfecting cells in the lung by intravenous administration. An increase in DNA retention time in the lung results in a higher level of gene expression. Liposomes composed of cationic lipids with alkyl chains exhibited better activity than cholesterol-based cationic liposomes to retain the plasmid DNA in the lung. The level and patterns of gene expression obtained appeared similar to those seen in animals transfected by DNA-liposome complexes. These results suggest that prolonging the exposure time of DNA to the target cells in vivo may be an important strategy in achieving a high level of gene expression. Our data also introduce a possibility that the function of cationic liposomes in lipoplex-mediated transfection in vivo is to extend the interaction time of DNA with the cells.
    Gene Therapy 12/1998; 5(11):1531-7. DOI:10.1038/sj.gt.3300770 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    F Liu · HH Qi · L Huang · D Liu
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    ABSTRACT: The factors controlling the transfection efficiency of cationic lipid carrier systems following intravenous administration are poorly understood. Using N-[1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy)propyl]-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride (DOTMA) combined with Tween 80 as a carrier system and cDNA of luciferase or beta-galactosidase gene as a reporter, we investigated the importance of DOTMA to DNA ratio and the ratio of DOTMA to Tween 80 in the lipid formulation in determining the site and level of transgene expression following intravenous administration. The data show that all of the internal organs, including lung, liver, spleen, heart and kidneys, expressed the transgene upon systemic administration into animals with 25 micrograms of plasmid DNA when complexed with DOTMA-Tween 80 lipid formulation. The transfection efficiency was dependent on both DOTMA to DNA, and DOTMA to Tween 80 ratios. Among the organs examined, the lung appeared to be more transfectable than other organs. A better transfection activity was obtained with higher DOTMA to DNA and DOTMA to Tween 80 ratios. Time-response curve shows that gene expression was transient with a maximal level between 10 and 24 h after injection. Results from tissue distribution studies with 125I-labeled plasmid DNA and Southern analysis suggest that the transient expression is the result of the loss of transgene from the transfected cells. These results suggest that cationic lipid-based delivery systems can be efficient for gene delivery if the composition of the DNA-lipid complexes is properly controlled.
    Gene Therapy 07/1997; 4(6):517-23. DOI:10.1038/sj.gt.3300424 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Monoclonal antibody 34A, which specifically binds to a surface glycoprotein (thrombomodulin) of the pulmonary endothelial cell surface in mice, has been conjugated to the surface of long-circulating emulsions composed of Castor oil, phosphatidylcholine and polyethylene glycol coupled to distearoylphosphatidyl-ethanolamine. These antibody-containing emulsions were found capable of binding to the lung when injected into mice through the tail vein. The level of lung accumulation of these emulsions depends on the amount of antibodies conjugated to the surface of the emulsions. With an input antibody to lipid ratio of 2:1 (w/w), 30% injected emulsions were found in the lung 30 minutes after administration. Such high level accumulation can be blocked by co-administration of free 34A antibody, indicating that the binding is specific and 34A antibody mediated. Kinetic studies showed that emulsion targeting to the lung was very rapid. Five minutes after tail vein injection, the total amount of emulsion found in the lung was the highest among the time points examined, indicating the completion of lung binding. However, about 50% of the initially bound emulsions remained bound for more than 4 hours. These results indicate that the targeted drug delivery using oil-in-water emulsions could be very useful to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of lipophilic drugs.
    PDA journal of pharmaceutical science and technology / PDA 11/1996; 50(6):372-7.
  • D Liu · Y.K. Song · F Liu
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that GM1 exhibits an opposite effect on regulating liposome circulation time in mice and rats (Liu et al. Pharm. Res. Vol. 12:508-512 (1995)). Inclusion of GM1 into liposomes significantly prolongs liposome circulation time in mice, while it dramatically decrease the blood half life and increases liver uptake of liposomes in rats. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the mechanism that underlies this phenomenon. Single-pass liver perfusion in vitro and complement mediated liposome lysis assay was used. Serum appeared to play an important role in determining the liver uptake of GM1 liposomes. Specifically, rat serum enhanced the uptake of GM1-containing liposomes by the perfused liver. Such activity was also found in human and bovine serum, but not in mouse serum. Taking human serum as an example, we demonstrated that such serum activity can be blocked by EDTA and EGTA/Mg2+. Antibodies against human IgM and the third component of complement system (C3) also inhibited serum activity. The presence of naturally occurring anti-GM1 antibodies in rats, through the activation of the classic pathway of complement system, is likely the cause of rapid blood clearance of GM1-liposomes. The third component of complement is likely to serve as the opsonin that is directly involved in mediating liposome clearance.
    Pharmaceutical Research 12/1995; 12(11):1775-80. DOI:10.1023/A:1016286310475 · 3.95 Impact Factor
  • F Liu · D Liu
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    ABSTRACT: Rapid clearance of parenterally administered oil-in-water emulsions from blood by the reticuloendothelial system (RES), mainly macrophages of the liver and spleen, has been one of the major obstacles for delivering lipophilic drugs to cells other than those in the RES. The purpose of this study therefore is to overcome this problem and develop emulsions that will have prolonged blood circulation time. A series of amphipathic polyethylene-glycol (PEG) derivatives have been included as co-emulsifier into emulsions composed of Castor oil and phosphatidylcholine. The effect of amphipathic PEG on reducing the RES uptake and prolonging the blood circulation of the emulsion particles has been tested in vivo using mice as an animal model. Inclusion of PEG derivatives such as Tween-80 or dioleoyl N-(monomethoxy-polyethyleneglycol succinyl)phosphotidylethanolamine (PEG-PE) into emulsions composed of Castor oil and phosphatidylcholine decreases the RES uptake and increases blood residence time of the emulsions. The activity of PEG derivatives in prolonging the circulation time of emulsions depends on the PEG chain length (PEG2000 > PEG5000 > PEG1000, Tween-80) and the PEG density on emulsion surface. Inclusion of amphipathic PEG as emulsifier into oil-in-water emulsions is a very effective method to prolong the blood half life of the emulsions. Emulsions with long circulating half life in blood should be very useful as a delivery vehicle for lipophilic drugs.
    Pharmaceutical Research 07/1995; 12(7):1060-4. DOI:10.1023/A:1016274801930 · 3.95 Impact Factor