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In Vitro Biological Activities of Anionic -Fe2O3 Nanoparticles on Human Melanoma Cells

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Three magnetic fluid (MF) samples containing -Fe2O3 (maghemite) nanoparticles surface-coated with either meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), citric acid or lauric acid were prepared, characterized, and assessed for their cytotoxic potential on the human SK-MEL-37 melanoma cell line. Ultra-structural analysis was also performed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In vitro cytotoxicity was evaluated by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The inhibitory concentration (IC50) derived from the sigmoidal dose response curve was 254 g-iron/mL (95% confidence interval 239–270 g-iron/mL) for lauric acid-coated nanoparticles. DMSA-coated nanoparticles did not exhibit a clear trend toward toxicity (IC50 value is more than 2260±50g-iron/mL) and the IC50 value was about 433±14 g-iron/mL for citric-acid coated nanoparticles. The cytotoxic response correlated with both the hydrodynamic diameter and the zeta potential suggests that the chain length of the carboxylic acid of the coating species may influence metabolic cellular process. Also the assayed nanoparticles can be considered non-cytotoxic to human melanoma cells since IC50 values are higher than plasma concentration usually observed in clinical use of contrast agents. Using TEM we verified that all assayed nanoparticles were internalized by cells through endocytic vesicles. Additionally, cells treated with lauric acid-coated nanoparticles at high concentration (588 or 840 g-iron/mL) displayed morphological features of apoptosis (surface blebbing, intense vacuolization and chromatin condensation) or a typical DNA ladder pattern when analyzed by TEM or agarose gel electrophoresis, respectively. Apoptotic events may be operative, suggesting a promising therapeutic application for the lauric acid-coated nanoparticle in the treatment of cancer cells.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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