Enhanced cytotoxicity of auraptene to prostate cancer cells by dextran-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Biotechnology Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Targeted Drug Delivery Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Purpose: Auraptene (AUR) is a monoterpene coumarin compound with several biological activities specifically anti-cancer. The bioavailability of AUR in biological fluids is negligible, thus, the cytotoxicity of this compound for the target cells is low. Herein, the synthesis of AUR-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles is presented as a strategy to increase the cytotoxicity of AUR on PC3, DU145, and LNCaP prostate cancer cells.

Methods: Fe3O4 nanoparticles were synthesized via co-precipitation method, coated with AUR and stabilized by dextran. They were characterized by X-ray diffraction spectroscopy (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), dynamic light scattering (DLS) analysis, and vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM). In vitro release test for coated nanoparticles was performed in both physiologic (pH= 7.4) and acidic (pH= 5.5) environments. Cytotoxicity for prostate cancer cells was evaluated by AlamarBlue assay and the results were analyzed by one-way and two-way ANOVA tests.

Results: Characterization outcomes represented the formation of magnetic nanoparticles with good crystalline structure, relatively spherical shape and superparamagnetic properties. AUR release profile from nanoparticles demonstrated that coated nanoparticles are able to inhibit burst release of this compound. AUR release was remarkably higher in acidic medium that can be advantageous for treating tumor regions. Cytotoxicity results indicated that AUR had a very low toxicity against prostate cancer cells at the tested concentrations. In contrast, AUR-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles were significantly cytotoxic on all the cell lines.

Conclusion: The coating of AUR on the surface of Fe3O4 nanoparticles was a successful approach to enhance the efficacy and cytotoxicity of this compound.


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