Pluronic/poly(ethylenimine) (PEI2K) nanocapsules (NCs) exhibiting a thermally reversible swelling/deswelling volume expansion behavior were synthesized and used for an siRNA delivery nanocarrier as well as an effective endosome breaking agent. Pluronic/PEI2K nanocapsules were in a collapsed state with an average size of 118.9 +/- 15.3 mn at 37 degrees C, but in a swollen state with that of 412.3 +/- 83.2 nin at 15 degrees C. The collapsed Pluronic/PEI2K NCs having a highly positive surface zeta potential value were utilized to load siRNA-PEG conjugate on the surface via electrostatic interactions. The siRNA-PEG/NCs nanocomplexes were transfected to the cells at 37 degrees C for efficient cellular uptake. The transfected cells were treated with a brief cold shock to induce an abrupt volume expansion of the NCs within an endosome compartment to physically burst out the endosomal membrane. Far efficient gene silencing effects for both green fluorescent protein (GFP) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were observed after the cold shock treatment to the transfected cells. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.