Intra-i-Fect Tissue Specific siRNA Kits

I have published content here on our collaborator’s success using i-Fect to delivery siRNA in vivo and in-vitro. These kits have been used for gene expression analysis studies of DOR, hTERT, The β3 subunit of the Na+,K+-ATPase, rSNSR1, NTS1. NAV1.8, Survivin,  Flaviviruses and more.

I am excited about another iteration of capablilities with our new:
Intra-i-Fect Tissue Specific siRNA Kits.

These kits are designed to deliver siRNA in vivo via intravenous injections with high efficiency to specific tissue in rats and mice. The protocol involves these simple steps: prep, mix, dry, hydrate and inject.

They are developed using a proprietary platform that uses nano-particles as the delivery vehicle. This platform enables:

  • Effective delivery (60%+ knockdown) with no toxicity.
  • Scalable to high throughput siRNA based gene screening.
  • Consistent and reproducible results

Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia and CaMKII alpha

Many of my backstories have featured Pain Researchers.  In several, I have featured use of our our i-Fect ™ Transfection Kit for enhancing the delivery of siRNA in vitro and in vivo to study the expression of genes invovled in Neuropathic and Nociceptive Pain.

I am excited to present a recent publication that includes use of this kit to study Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia. In this study Dr. Zaijie Jim Wang and his team at University of Illiniois Chicago down regulate CaMKII alpa expression. Their data implicates, for the first time, an essential role of CaMKII alpha as a cellular mechanism leading to and maintaining opioid-induced hyperalgesia.

Yan Chen, Cheng Yang, and Zaijie Jim Wang. Ca2+/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II Is Required for the Initiation and Maintenance of Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia. The Journal of Neuroscience, January 6, 2010, 30(1):38-46; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4346-09.2010.

…KN93 and KN92 were administered intrathecally by percutaneous puncture through the L5-L6 intervertebral space, as described previously (Hylden and Wilcox, 1980; Chen et al., 2009). A lateral tail flick was considered as success of the intrathecal injection. To inhibit CaMKII, CaMKII was targeted by small interfering RNA (siRNA). Four days after morphine pellet implantation, mice were treated with CaMKII siRNA (5′-CACCACCAUUGAGGACGAAdTdT-3′, 3′-dTdTGUGGUGGUAACUCCUGCUU-5′) (Zayzafoon et al., 2005) or Stealth RNAi negative control (Invitrogen) (2 µg, i.t., twice per day for 3 consecutive days). These oligos were mixed with the transfection reagent i-Fect (Neuromics), in a ratio of 1:5 (w/v) (Luo et al., 2005). Mechanical and thermal sensitivity tests were performed daily…

Knockdown of rSNSR1 in vivo

I have featured successes with delivering siRNA in vivo in this blog. These included stories on Dr. Philipe Serrat and his team at the University of Sherbrooke and Dr. Mark Behlke’s work at Integrated DNA and Dicerna.

I am pleased to report the parade of success with use our i-FectTM in vivo grows. 

Here’s the most recent study:

Christian Ndong, Amynah Pradhan, Carole Puma, Jean-Pierre Morello, Cyrla Hoffert, Thierry Groblewski , Dajan O’Donnell, Jennifer M.A. Laird. Role of rat sensory neuron-specific receptor (rSNSR1) in inflammatory pain: Contribution of TRPV1 to SNSR signaling in the pain pathway. PAIN 143 (2009) 130–137.
…For experiments in which siRNA was delivered by bolus injections, 10 ul of siRNA or vehicle was injected directly into the intrathecal catheter once daily for 4 days. In this case, siRNAs were prepared immediately prior to administration by mixing the RNA solution (200 uM in annealing buffer) with the transfection reagent i-FectTM (Neuromics) at a ratio of 1:4 (w:v) for a final siRNA/ lipid complex concentration of 2 ug/10 ul…

Related Data:


Images: in vivo characterization of knockdown produced by rSNSR1 siRNA. (A) A dose-dependent decrease in rSNSR1 mRNA levels measured in lumbar L3/L4/L5 DRGs was
observed when rSNSR1 siRNA (n = 7–14/group) or MM siRNA (n = 6/group) was delivered by four daily bolus injections. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001 as determined by oneway analysis of variance followed by sequential testing. (B) rSNSR1 immunoreactivity in dorsal horn of the spinal cord was visibly reduced in rSNSR1 siRNA-treated animals (5 lg/day, left panel). Immunoreactivity with neuron-specific isolectin B4 (IB4; right panel) did not change between treatment groups, showing the integrity of each dorsal horn analyzed (n = 6/group). (C) A semi-quantitative score of rSNSR1 immunoreactivity showed that siRNA treatment greatly decreased rSNSR1 protein levels compared to MM and control groups. A blinded observer scored 9–12 individual sections taken from a 1 cm segment of the spinal cord.

ACIC3 Receptors Knockdown in vivo

Researchers using siRNA complexed with our i-Fect ™ transfection regent have successfully knocked down ASIC3 Receptors in vivo. This publication joins the growing parade (starting with Luo et al, 2005) that reference successful modulation of receptors involved in pain using siRNA complexes. These studies all share animal behavior studies showing a marked change in response to pain stimuli after treatment.

In this study, Dr. Eric Lingueglia and his team found Peripheral ASIC3 channels are thus essential sensors of acidic pain and integrators of molecular signals produced during inflammation where they contribute to primary hyperalgesia.

Emmanuel Deval, Jacques Noël, Nadège Lay, Abdelkrim Alloui, Sylvie Diochot, Valérie Friend, Martine Jodar, Michel Lazdunski and Eric Lingueglia. ASIC3, a sensor of acidic and primary inflammatory pain. The EMBO Journal advance online publication 16 October 2008; doi: 10.1038/emboj.2008.213

 Cy3-labelled siRNA no. 1121 and its corresponding scramble (no. 1121S; GCTCACACTACGCAGAGAT) synthesized by MWG Biotech (Germany) were injected in rats by intrathecal bolus to the lumbar region of the spinal cord once a day for 3 days before the induction of inflammation with CFA. Each 10-ml injection corresponded to 2 mg of siRNA complexed with i-Fect siRNA transfection reagent (Neuromics) at a ratio of 1:4 (w:v) (Luo et al, 2005), following the supplier’s suggested protocol. siRNA uptake in lumbar DRGs
was monitored by fluorescence microscopy on cryostat sections 24 h after a single intrathecal injection.

Here’s a synopsis of results:

Inflammation was produced by CFA injection, which led to primary heat hyperalgesia, and this hyperalgesia was drastically reduced by the ASIC3 blocker APETx2 injected subcutaneously, which only access cutaneous nociceptors. It was also drastically reduced when, before triggering the inflammation state, intrathecal
injections of an siRNA against ASIC3 had induced a knockdown of ASIC3 expression in lumbar DRGs.

I will continue to publish updates.

Dr. Philippe Sarret Team and Potential New Pain Targets

Shedding Light on New Pain Pathways

There is no joy in Painville. Our answer to pain is: “make it go away”! It spoils quality of life. The socio-economic costs for treatments, loss of productivity and absenteeism, are measured in billions USD$.

Today, moderate to severe pain is treated mostly with NSAIDs, narcotics or tricyclics (anti-depressants). Properly prescribed, these effectively alleviate pain. However, for cases of sustained chronic pain, they become problematic. More than 30% of the population coping with chronic pain are insensitive to morphine derivatives or other pain treatments. They can lose their effectiveness (tolerance), most can be abused and are addictive (dependence), but overall, given in multitherapy, their side effects are additive and deleterious. These problems arise from a lack of comprehension in their mode of action. This is not good news for neuropathic and chronic pain sufferers looking for long term relief.

Research that could lead to discovery of non-narcotic drugs signaling via opioidergic-independent pathways is part of the solution for people coping with chronic pain. This brings us to our back story featuring Dr. Philippe Sarret and his Research Team at the University of Sherbrooke.


About Dr. Philippe Sarret

-Masters (biochemistry), University of Nice in 1994.

-Diploma (DEA, cellular and molecular biology), University of Nice 1996.

-PhD (pharmacology), Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Sophia Antipolis 2000

-Post-doctorate (Neuroscience), Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University, Montreal 2004.

-Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sherbrooke in 2004 -present

Sarret Website-In English

Sarret Website-In French

Tél.: (819) 820-6868, poste 12554
Téléc.: (819) 820-6887
Courriel: Philippe.Sarret@USherbrooke.ca

I asked Dr. Nicolas Beaudet, a Sarret lab member, why he joined the lab. He said, “ Philippe is a great communicator. He has the ability to articulate his complex research in a way that is easy to understand, visionary and exciting”. The aspect that Nicolas finds most intriguing is the systems approach that Philippe and the team take in understanding the mechanisms of pain. This enables them to work at them molecular level up to the whole animal. This is a key step in finding potential new pain therapies.

Drilling Down

Philippe and his team centered their efforts on G Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) such as apelin, chemokines and neurotensin. As a common point, they were all recently identified in the central nervous system to provide a potential role in pain modulation.

Lately, the focus has been on the roles of Neurotensin Receptor 1 (NTS1) and Neurotensin Receptor 2 (NTS2). Recent studies have highlighted the role of these receptors in pain modulation and more is to come…:

  • Geneviève Roussy, Marc-André Dansereau , Louis Doré-Savard, Karine Belleville, Nicolas Beaudet, Elliott Richelson and Philippe Sarret. Spinal NTS1 receptors regulate nociceptive signaling in a rat formalin tonic pain model.Journal of Neurochemistry 105: 1100 – 1114
  • Sarret, P, Perron, A, Stroh, T and Beaudet, A (2003). Immunohistochemical distributionmof NTS2 neurotensin receptors in the rat central nervous system. J Comp Neurol 461: 520–538.
  • Sarret, P, Esdaile, MJ, Perron, A, Martinez, J, Stroh, T and Beaudet, A (2005). Potent spinal analgesia elicited through stimulation of NTS2 neurotensin receptors. J Neurosci 25: 8188–8196.
  • Dobner, PR (2006). Neurotensin and pain modulation. Peptides 27: 2405–2414.
  • Maeno, H, Yamada, K, Santo-Yamada, Y, Aoki, K, Sun, YJ, Sato, E et al. (2004). Comparison of mice deficient in the high- or low-affinity neurotensin receptors, Ntsr1 or Ntsr2, reveals a novel function for Ntsr2 in thermal nociception. Brain Res998: 122–129.      

The wow factor for me was the clever way Philippe and his team used a new technology of 27mer NTS2 Dicer Duplex siRNA (DsiRNA) delivery in vivo as a proof for the potential of DisRNAs-based pain therapies.

Louis Doré-Savard, Geneviève Roussy, Marc-André Dansereau, Michael A Collingwood, Kim A Lennox, Scott D Rose, Nicolas Beaudet, Mark A Behlke and Philippe Sarret. Central Delivery of Dicer-substrate siRNA: A Direct Application for Pain Research. Molecular Therapy (2008); Jul;16(7):1331-9. Epub 2008 Jun 3 doi:10.1038/mt.2008.98.

Using ultra low dose of DsiRNAs complexed with Neuromics’ i-Fect ™, they were able to successfully reduce NTS2 gene expression by up to 86% in rat lumbar Dorsal Root Ganglia after only two intrathecal injections. This was confirmed by Western Blot and qPCR analysis.

What Happened

Using an acute pain model, anti-nociceptive effects of NTS2, induced by a selective agonist, were significantly reduced following NTS2 silencing This resulted in rats showing an increased sensitivity to pain. By day four, the knockdown effects showed a decrease with the NTS2 function returning to normal.

What ‘s next

So we have a great start. We know that agonists binding to NTS2 in the CNS lead to analgesia. We know that DsiRNA can be used to alter the expression of this gene in vivo. We have provided a key step in learning how the NTS2 receptors can be manipulated to block pain. However, now we need to unravel the underlying mechanisms explaining these spinal analgesic properties.

It is my hope that Philippe and his team are appropriately funded. This would catalyze further discoveries in how expression of G Protein Coupled Receptors like NTS1, NTS2, APJ, CCR2 can be targeted to modulate pain. By using rodents, the team can develop tools like DsiRNA to increase the potency and duration of pain blockade. Moreover, potential toxicity and side effects need to be addressed in order to move forward towards clinical studies. These pre-clinical models prove invaluable in taking the step to studies in humans.These therapies hold the promise of providing relief for chronic pain (neuropathic, arthritic, diabetic, cancer pain, etc.) sufferers without the current side effects. Stay tuned as I will be reporting the good news as it unfolds.