Ag-doping regulates the cytotoxicity of TiO 2 nanoparticles via oxidative stress in human cancer cells

Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 15;7(1):17662. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17559-9.


We investigated the anticancer potential of Ag-doped (0.5-5%) anatase TiO2 NPs. Characterization study showed that dopant Ag was well-distributed on the surface of host TiO2 NPs. Size (15 nm to 9 nm) and band gap energy (3.32 eV to 3.15 eV) of TiO2 NPs were decreases with increasing the concentration of Ag dopant. Biological studies demonstrated that Ag-doped TiO2 NP-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in human liver cancer (HepG2) cells. The toxic intensity of TiO2 NPs was increases with increasing the amount of Ag-doping. The Ag-doped TiO2 NPs further found to provoke reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and antioxidants depletion. Toxicity induced by Ag-doped TiO2 NPs in HepG2 cells was efficiently abrogated by antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (ROS scavenger). We also found that Ag-doped TiO2 NPs induced cytotoxicity and oxidative stress in human lung (A549) and breast (MCF-7) cancer cells. Interestingly, Ag-doped TiO2 NPs did not cause much toxicity to normal cells such as primary rat hepatocytes and human lung fibroblasts. Overall, we found that Ag-doped TiO2 NPs have potential to selectively kill cancer cells while sparing normal cells. This study warranted further research on anticancer potential of Ag-doped TiO2 NPs in various types of cancer cells and in vivo models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / physiology
  • Hepatocytes / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Metal Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Photosensitivity Disorders
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Silver / chemistry
  • Silver / therapeutic use*
  • Titanium / chemistry
  • Titanium / therapeutic use*
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • titanium dioxide
  • Silver
  • Titanium