Investigations into the Mechanisms of Cell Death: The Common Link between Anticancer Nanotherapeutics and Nanotoxicology Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Minocha, Shalini
    • Affiliation: Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics
  • Nanotoxicology and anticancer nanotherapeutics are essentially two sides of the same coin. The nanotoxicology discipline deals with the nanoparticle (NP)-induced toxicity and mechanisms of cell death in healthy cells, whereas anticancer agents delivered via nano-based approaches aim to induce cell death in abnormally proliferating cancer cells. The objectives of the studies presented herein were two-fold; to (a) systematically study the physico-chemical properties and cell death mechanisms of model NPs and (b) utilize the knowledge gained from cell death-nanotoxicity studies in developing a potentially novel anticancer nanotherapeutic agent. For the first objective, the effect of a distinguishing characteristic, i.e., surface carbon coating on the matched pairs of carbon-coated and non-coated copper and nickel NPs (Cu, C-Cu, Ni and C-Ni) on the physico-chemical properties and toxicity in A549 alveolar epithelial cells were evaluated. The effect of carbon coating on particle size, zeta potential, oxidation state, cellular uptake, release of soluble metal and concentration dependent toxicity of Cu and Ni NPs was systematically evaluated. A significant effect of carbon coating was observed on the physico-chemical properties, interaction with cellular membranes, and overall toxicity of the NPs. C-Cu NPs, compared to Cu NPs, showed four-fold lower release of soluble copper, ten-fold higher cellular uptake and protection against surface oxidation. In toxicity assays, C-Cu NPs induced higher mitochondrial damage than Cu NPs whereas Cu NPs were associated with a significant damage to plasma membrane integrity. Nickel and carbon coated nickel NPs were less toxic compared to Cu and C-Cu NPs. Thus, by studying the effect of carbon coating, correlations between physico-chemical properties and toxicity of NPs were established. The second objective was focused on utilizing nano-based approaches for the intracellular delivery of an anticancer agent, Cytochrome c (Cyt c), to breast cancer cells for inducing apoptosis. Cytochrome c is an endogenous mitochondrial protein and upon its release to cytosol, leads to apoptotic cell death. Although the mechanism by which Cyt c induces apoptosis theoretically makes it an attractive anti-cancer therapeutic agent, the lack of physicochemical characteristics required for successful cell permeation requires the use of delivery systems such as nanocarriers to facilitate its intracellular delivery. Cytochrome c, being a protein, is susceptible to changes in structural integrity and aggregation which might occur upon exposure to organic solvents and high shear/stress conditions, often used during nanoparticle preparation. Furthermore, successful delivery to cell cytosol requires endosomal release. Therefore, to deliver Cyt c intracellularly, while maintaining conditions for its stability, entrapment was performed using a film hydration method with 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane and cholesterol (DOTAP-Chol) liposomes. It was shown that modulation of hydration buffer pH from 7 to 8.5 increased entrapment of Cyt c in DOTAP-Chol liposomes from 2% to 30%. The optimized formulation showed apoptotic activity in MDA-MB-231 cells. It was also shown that no aggregation, secondary and heme crevice structure change and deamidation was observed for Cyt c released from optimized formulation and that released Cyt c retained apoptotic activity after storage of formulation for twenty eight days at 4 o C.
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  • In Copyright
  • Mumper, Russell J.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2012

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