Fabrication of curcumin micellar nanoparticles with enhanced anti-cancer activity

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Journal Article
Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, 2015, 11 (6), pp. 1093 - 1105
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Copyright © 2015 American Scientific Publishers. All rights reserved. Although curcumin is effective in killing cancer cells, its low water solubility and inadequate bioavailability remain major limitations to its therapeutic application. Formulating curcumin micellar nanoparticles (Cur-NPs) encapsulated with a biodegradable polymer can significantly improve curcumin's solubility, stability, and bioavailability in vitro. In this study, differently sized Cur-NPs coated with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) were engineered. The particle size, encapsulation efficiency, in vitro release, stability, cytotoxicity, and cellular uptake of these Cur-NPs were characterized in several cancer cell lines. The results showed that, relative to solubilized curcumin, Cur-NPs demonstrated higher cytotoxicity against cancer cells. To our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate that the extent of the anti-cancer potency and cellular uptake of Cur-NPs is directly correlated to particle size, where Cur-NPs with the smallest size (28 nm) were the most potent. Confocal microscopy revealed the subcellular localization of the smaller Cur-NPs (28 nm) to be in both the nucleus and cytoplasm, while the larger particles (200 nm) were only localized in the cytoplasm.
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