Evaluation of protein corona formation and anticancer efficiency of curcumin-loaded zwitterionic silica nanoparticles

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants and Drugs Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran



Objective(s): Study and development of antifouling nanosystem for conjugation of drugs were attracting great attention in recent years. The present study aimed to develop novel curcumin-loaded silica nanoparticles containing zwitterionic coating as an antifouling system to provide protein corona free nanoformulations for curcumin.
Materials and Methods: Silica nanoparticles were prepared using the Stöber method, and mono- and bi-functionalized nanoparticles were obtained by modifying the surface of the bare silica nanoparticles with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES), polyethylene glycol amine, APTES with sulfobetaine, and polyethylene glycol amine with sulfobetaine. Nanoparticle characterization, curcumin release, and measurement of protein corona inhibition were performed after incubation in the human plasma and MTT assay to confirm the stability and efficiency of the nanoparticles.
Results: The presence of the sulfobetaine group could influence the curcumin loading capacity of the silica nanoparticles. The results of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated no significant protein adsorption on the curcumin-loaded, zwitterionic-coated nanoparticles compared to the other nanoparticles. In addition, the MTT assay confirmed the cytotoxicity of the curcumin-loaded sulfobetaine-APTES-silica nanoparticles on MCF-7 cancer cells.
Conclusion: Our findings confirmed the effects of the zwitterionic coating on the physicochemical properties of the nanoparticles. These findings play a key role in the development of novel nanoparticles for drug delivery applications.


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