Purpose: To deliver insoluble natural compounds into colon cancer cells in a controlled fashion.
Materials and methods: Curcumin (CM)-silk fibroin (SF) nanoparticles (NPs) were prepared by solution-enhanced dispersion by supercritical CO2 (SEDS) (20 MPa pressure, 1:2 CM:SF ratio, 1% concentration), and their physicochemical properties, intracellular uptake efficiency, in vitro anticancer effect, toxicity, and mechanisms were evaluated and analyzed.
Results: CM-SF NPs (<100 nm) with controllable particle size were prepared by SEDS. CM-SF NPs had a time-dependent intracellular uptake ability, which led to an improved inhibition effect on colon cancer cells. Interestingly, the anticancer effect of CM-SF NPs was improved, while the side effect on normal human colon mucosal epithelial cells was reduced by a concentration of ~10 μg/mL. The anticancer mechanism involves cell-cycle arrest in the G0/G1 and G2/M phases in association with inducing apoptotic cells.
Conclusion: The natural compound-loaded SF nanoplatform prepared by SEDS indicates promising colon cancer-therapy potential.
Keywords: colon cancer; nanoparticle; natural compounds; silk fibroin; supercritical.