Calcium Phosphate Nanoparticles-Based Systems for RNAi Delivery: Applications in Bone Tissue Regeneration

Tanya J. Levingstone, Simona Herbaj, John Redmond, Helen O. McCarthy, Nicholas J. Dunne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


Bone-related injury and disease constitute a significant global burden both socially and economically. Current treatments have many limitations and thus the development of new approaches for bone-related conditions is imperative. Gene therapy is an emerging approach for effective bone repair and regeneration, with notable interest in the use of RNA interference (RNAi) systems to regulate gene expression in the bone microenvironment. Calcium phosphate nanoparticles represent promising materials for use as non-viral vectors for gene therapy in bone tissue engineering applications due to their many favorable properties, including biocompatibility, osteoinductivity, osteoconductivity, and strong affinity for binding to nucleic acids. However, low transfection rates present a significant barrier to their clinical use. This article reviews the benefits of calcium phosphate nanoparticles for RNAi delivery and highlights the role of surface functionalization in increasing calcium phosphate nanoparticles stability, improving cellular uptake and increasing transfection efficiency. Currently, the underlying mechanistic principles relating to these systems and their interplay during in vivo bone formation is not wholly understood. Furthermore, the optimal microRNA targets for particular bone tissue regeneration applications are still unclear. Therefore, further research is required in order to achieve the optimal calcium phosphate nanoparticles-based systems for RNAi delivery for bone tissue regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
Number of pages28
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Irish Research Council Government Postgraduate Scholarship Award, grant number GOIPG/2016/1526).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Bone tissue engineering
  • Calcium phosphates
  • Gene therapy
  • Nanoparticles
  • Non-viral vectors
  • RNA interference
  • Surface functionalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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