Enhanced in vitro and in vivo gene delivery using cationic agent complexed retrovirus vectors


Retroviruses are, at present, the most efficient integrative vectors available for gene delivery. However, these viruses are still limited by relatively low titres. Although several protocols exist to improve virus titre most of them are time-consuming and unable to provide sufficient virus for in vivo applications. Virus titre can be enhanced by polybrene and other cationic agents. By investigating a broad range of cationic agents for their ability to enhance virus infectivity we found that both ecotropic and amphotropic retrovirus infection could be increased. In particular, the lipopolyamine dioctadecylamidoglycylspermine (DOGS) gave up to one order of magnitude enhancement above polybrene- mediated infection without cytotoxicity. To increase virus infectivity further we combined the enhancing effect of DOGS on virus infectivity with concentration of virus particles by ultrafiltration to reach titres of 1 × 109 IU/ml. The in vivo transduction of regenerating rat liver, by an amphotropic retrovirus was increased approximately five-fold by the addition of DOGS compared with virus alone. There was no animal toxicity observed following the administration of DOGS. The improved transduction efficiency seen both in vitro and in vivo following the co-administration of DOGS/virus complexes may be useful for future gene therapy applications.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to M Themis.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Themis, M., Forbes, S., Chan, L. et al. Enhanced in vitro and in vivo gene delivery using cationic agent complexed retrovirus vectors. Gene Ther 5, 1180–1186 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.gt.3300715

Download citation


  • gene therapy
  • retrovirus
  • liver
  • cationic agent

Further reading


Quick links