Delivery of Oligonucleotides: Efficiency with Lipid Conjugation and Clinical Outcome

Phuc Tran, Tsigereda Weldemichael, Zhichao Liu, Hong Yu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Oligonucleotides have shifted drug discovery into a new paradigm due to their ability to silence the genes and inhibit protein translation. Importantly, they can drug the un-druggable targets from the conventional small-molecule perspective. Unfortunately, poor cellular permeability and susceptibility to nuclease degradation remain as major hurdles for the development of oligonucleotide therapeutic agents. Studies of safe and effective delivery technique with lipid bioconjugates gains attention to resolve these issues. Our review article summarizes the physicochemical effect of well-studied hydrophobic moieties to enhance the cellular entry of oligonucleotides. The structural impacts of fatty acids, cholesterol, tocopherol, and squalene on cellular internalization and membrane penetration in vitro and in vivo were discussed first. The crucial assays for delivery evaluation within this section were analyzed sequentially. Next, we provided a few successful examples of lipid-conjugated oligonucleotides advanced into clinical studies for treating patients with different medical backgrounds. Finally, we pinpointed current limitations and outlooks in this research field along with opportunities to explore new modifications and efficacy studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number342
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholesterol
  • Delivery
  • Fatty acid
  • Lipid conjugates
  • LNP
  • Oligonucleotide
  • Squalene
  • Tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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