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Feldmann, Daniel P.; Xie, Yuran; Jones, Steven K.; Yu, Dongyue; Moszczynska, Anna; Merkel, Olivia M. (2017): The impact of microfluidic mixing of triblock micelleplexes on in vitro/in vivo gene silencing and intracellular trafficking. In: Nanotechnology, Vol. 28, No. 22, 224001
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The triblock copolymer polyethylenimine-polycaprolactone-polyethylene glycol (PEI-PCL-PEG) has been shown to spontaneously assemble into nano-sized particulate carriers capable of complexing with nucleic acids for gene delivery. The objective of this study was to investigate micelleplex characteristics, their in vitro and in vivo fate following microfluidic preparation of siRNA nanoparticles compared to the routinely used batch reactor mixing technique. Herein, PEI-PCL-PEG nanoparticles were prepared with batch reactor or microfluidic mixing techniques and characterized by various biochemical assays and in cell culture. Microfluidic nanoparticles showed a reduction of overall particle size as well as a more uniform size distribution when compared to batch reactor pipette mixing. Confocal microscopy, flow cytometry and qRT-PCR displayed the subcellular delivery of the microfluidic formulation and confirmed the ability to achieve mRNA knockdown. Intratracheal instillation of microfluidic formulation resulted in a significantly more efficient (p < 0.05) knockdown of GAPDH compared to treatment with the batch reactor formulation. The use of microfluidic mixing techniques yields an overall smaller and more uniform PEG-PCL-PEI nanoparticle that is able to more efficiently deliver siRNA in vivo. This preparation method may prove to be useful when a scaled up production of well-defined polyplexes is required.