Study on the visible-light-induced photokilling effect of nitrogen-doped TiO2 nanoparticles on cancer cells

Nanoscale Res Lett. 2011 Apr 21;6(1):356. doi: 10.1186/1556-276X-6-356.


Nitrogen-doped TiO2 (N-TiO2) nanoparticles were prepared by calcining the anatase TiO2 nanoparticles under ammonia atmosphere. The N-TiO2 showed higher absorbance in the visible region than the pure TiO2. The cytotoxicity and visible-light-induced phototoxicity of the pure- and N-TiO2 were examined for three types of cancer cell lines. No significant cytotoxicity was detected. However, the visible-light-induced photokilling effects on cells were observed. The survival fraction of the cells decreased with the increased incubation concentration of the nanoparticles. The cancer cells incubated with N-TiO2 were killed more effectively than that with the pure TiO2. The reactive oxygen species was found to play an important role on the photokilling effect for cells. Furthermore, the intracellular distributions of N-TiO2 nanoparticles were examined by laser scanning confocal microscopy. The co-localization of N-TiO2 nanoparticles with nuclei or Golgi complexes was observed. The aberrant nuclear morphologies such as micronuclei were detected after the N-TiO2-treated cells were irradiated by the visible light.