What is it about?

Metallic nanoparticles (NPs) especially silver (Ag) NPs have shown immense potential in medical applications due to their distinctive physio-chemical and biological properties. This article reports the conjugation of Ag NPs with Rubus fairholmianus extract. The modification of Ag NPs was confirmed using various physico-chemical characterization techniques. The cytotoxic effect of Rubus-conjugated Ag NPs (RAgNPs) was studied by LDH assay and proliferation by ATP assay. The apoptotic inducing ability of the NPs were investigated by Annexin V/PI staining, caspase 3/7 analysis, cytochrome c release, intracellular ROS analysis, Hoechst staining and mitochondrial membrane potential analysis using flow cytometry. The expression of apoptotic proteins caspase 3, Bax and P53 were analyzed using ELISA and caspase 3, Bax using western blotting. Cells treated with 10 µg/mL RAgNPs showed an increased number of cell death by microscopic analysis compared to untreated control cells. The RAgNPs induced a statistically significant dose-dependent decrease in proliferation (p < 0.001 for 5 and 10 µg/mL) and increased cytotoxicity in MCF-7 cells. A 1.83 fold increase in cytotoxicity was observed in cells treated with 10 µg/mL (p < 0.05) compared to the untreated cells. Nuclear damage and intracellular ROS production were observed upon treatment with all tested concentrations of RAgNPs and the highest concentrations (5 and 10 µg/mL) showed significant (p < 0.05, p < 0.01) expression of caspase 3, Bax and P53 proteins. The data strongly suggest that RAgNPs induces cell death in MCF-7 cells through the mitochondrial-mediated intrinsic apoptosis pathway.

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Why is it important?

there is a lack of detailed research results regarding the anticancer effects of green synthesized Ag NPs. It will be of interest to determine the synergistic cytotoxic effect of Ag NPs and Rubus extract on cancer cells as they could demonstrate better biocompatibility and enhanced therapeutic attributes. To the author's knowledge, no study has been undertaken to determine the in vitro antiproliferative effects of Ag NPs capped with Rubus extracts against MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells. Therefore, the current study was performed to modify Ag NPs with Rubus extract, and evaluate its anticancer potential against MCF-7 cells in vitro. The cytotoxicity, proliferation and caspase-mediated apoptotic effects of capped Ag NPs were monitored through various in vitro analyses.


The present investigation supports the potential of RAgNPs in anticancer drug development.

Dr Neeraj Kumar
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

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This page is a summary of: Apoptotic efficacy of multifaceted biosynthesized silver nanoparticles on human adenocarcinoma cells, Scientific Reports, September 2018, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-32480-5.
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