Berberine and Zinc Oxide-Based Nanoparticles for the Chemo-Photothermal Therapy of Lung Adenocarcinoma

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018 Jun 27;501(3):765-770. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2018.05.063. Epub 2018 May 16.


Organic/inorganic hydrid nanoparticles (NPs) composed of berberine (BER) and zinc oxide (ZnO) were developed for the therapy of lung cancers. Without the use of pharmaceutical excipients, NPs were fabricated with only dual anticancer agents (BER and ZnO) by facile blending method. The mean weight ratio between BER and ZnO in BER-ZnO NPs was 39:61 in this study. BER-ZnO NPs dispersed in water exhibited 200-300 nm hydrodynamic size under 5 mg/mL concentration. The exposure of both BER and ZnO in the outer layers of BER-ZnO NPs was identified by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis. The amorphization of BER and the maintenance of ZnO structure were observed in the results of X-ray powder diffractometer analysis. Improved antiproliferation efficacy, based on the chemo-photothermal therapeutic efficacy, of BER-ZnO NPs in A549 (human lung adenocarcinoma) cells was presented. According to the blood tests in rats after intravenous administration, BER-ZnO NPs did not induce severe hepatotoxicity, renal toxicity, and hemotoxicity. Developed BER-ZnO NPs can be used efficiently and safely for the chemo-photothermal therapy of lung cancers.

Keywords: Berberine; Chemo-photothermal therapy; Lung cancer; Nanoparticles; Zinc oxide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Berberine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced / methods
  • Male
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Zinc Oxide / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Berberine
  • Zinc Oxide