AbstractIn order to improve the transfection efficiency and reduce the cytotoxicity of gene carriers, many strategies have been used to develop novel gene carriers. In this study, five complex micelles (MSP(2 k), MSP(4 k), MSP(6 k), MSP(8 k), and MSP(10 k)) were prepared from methoxy-poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (mPEG-b-PLGA) and sorbitol-poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide)-graft-PEI (sorbitol-PLGA-g-PEI, where the designed molecular weights of PLGA chains were 2 kDa, 4 kDa, 6 kDa, 8 kDa, and 10 kDa, respectively) copolymers by a self-assembly method, and the mass ratio of mPEG-b-PLGA to sorbitol-PLGA-g-PEI was 1/3. These complex micelles and their gene complexes had appropriate sizes and zeta potentials, and pEGFP-ZNF580 (pDNA) could be efficiently internalized into EA.hy926 cells by their gene complexes (MSP(2 k)/pDNA, MSP(4 k)/pDNA, MSP(6 k)/pDNA, MSP(8 k)/pDNA, and MSP(10 k)/pDNA). The MTT assay results demonstrated that the gene complexes had low cytotoxicity in vitro. When the hydrophobic PLGA chain increased above 6 kDa, the gene complexes showed higher performance than that prepared from short hydrophobic chains. Moreover, the relative ZNF580 protein expression levels in MSP(6 k)/pDNA, MSP(8 k)/pDNA, and MSP(10 k)/pDNA) groups were 79.6%, 71.2%, and 73%, respectively. These gene complexes could promote the transfection of endothelial cells, while providing important information and insight for the design of new and effective gene carriers to promote the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells.