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    Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is a critical loss-of-function tool for elucidating the role of genes in biomedical studies. The effective use of siRNA needs transfection technology that delivers siRNA into the correct location of target cells, especially those which are extremely difficult to transfect. Macrophages, which play an important role in the pathogenesis of many diseases, are known to be extremely hard to transfect. Thus, to elucidate the functions of genes in human macrophage biology, it is essential to devise technology for efficient siRNA transfection. However, a fast and efficient method for siRNA transfection in primary human macrophages has not been reported. The siRNA transfection is a tug-of-war between transfection rate and cytotoxicity. A higher transfection rate is generally accompanied with increased cytotoxicity, therefore, choosing a transfection reagent that limits cell death while maintain a desirable transfection rate is important. In this study, we employed auto-analysis function of the IncuCyte® to devise a fast and cost-saving technology for efficient transfection of adherent cells and particularly human macrophages. We show that DharmaFECT3 transfection reagent from Dharmacon was the most efficient in transfecting primary human monocyte-derived macrophages and PMA-differentiated U937 cells, whereas other transfection reagents tested were cytotoxic. This method exhibited approximately 85% transfection efficiency in human macrophages. Moreover, siRNA silencing of Bax with this technique effectively protected primary human macrophages and PMA-differentiated U937 cells against Resveratrol-induced cell death. In addition, this method inherently takes the balance between transfection rate and cytotoxicity of siRNA transfection reagents into consideration.


    Simon Xin Min Dong, Ramon Caballero, Hamza Ali, David Lawson Francis Roy, Edana Cassol, Ashok Kumar. Transfection of hard-to-transfect primary human macrophages with Bax siRNA to reverse Resveratrol-induced apoptosis. RNA biology. 2020 Jun;17(6):755-764

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    PMID: 32050839

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