Counter-ion effect on surfactant-DNA gel particles as controlled DNA delivery systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The ability to entrap drugs within vehicles and subsequently release them has led to new treatments for a number of diseases. Based on an associative phase separation and interfacial diffusion approach, we developed a way to prepare DNA gel particles without adding any kind of cross-linker or organic solvent. Among the various agents studied, cationic surfactants offered particularly efficient control for encapsulation and DNA release from these DNA gel particles. The driving force for this strong association is the electrostatic interaction between the two components, as induced by the entropic increase due to the release of the respective counter-ions. However, little is known about the influence of the respective counter-ions on this surfactant-DNA interaction. Here we examined the effect of different counter-ions on the formation and properties of the DNA gel particles by mixing DNA (either single-(ssDNA) or double-stranded (dsDNA)) with the single chain surfactant dodecyltrimethylammonium (DTA). In particular, we used as counter-ions of this surfactant the hydrogen sulfate and trifluoromethane sulfonate anions and the two halides, chloride and bromide. Effects on the morphology of the particles obtained, the encapsulation of DNA and its release, as well as the haemocompatibility of these particles are presented, using counter-ion structure and DNA conformation as controlling parameters. Analysis of the data indicates that the degree of counter-ion dissociation from the surfactant micelles and the polar/hydrophobic character of the counter-ion are important parameters in the final properties of the particles. The stronger interaction with amphiphiles for ssDNA than for dsDNA suggests the important role of hydrophobic interactions in DNA.


  • M. Carmen Moran
  • Tania Alonso
  • Filipe S. Lima
  • M. Pilar Vinardell
  • M. Graca Miguel
  • Björn Lindman
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3200-3211
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch