Surface decoration of selenium nanoparticles with curcumin induced HepG2 cell apoptosis through ROS mediated p53 and AKT signaling pathways†
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most lethal cancers, and the morbidity and mortality are increasing continuously. Curcumin plays an important role in anticancer activity, while its clinical application is limited by its poor aqueous solubility. To develop an aqueous formulation and improve the anticancer activity of curcumin, curcumin-surface decorated selenium nanoparticles (Se@Cur) were designed in the present study. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images and MTT assays indicated Se@Cur dramatically suppressed the proliferation of HepG2 cells and showed low toxicity to normal cells. Compared with SeNPs and curcumin, Se@Cur significantly inhibited the migration ability of HepG2 cells. Moreover, induction of apoptosis in HepG2 cells by Se@Cur was proved by accumulation of the sub-G1 cell population, nuclear condensation and activation of caspase-3. Furthermore, Se@Cur promoted intracellular ROS overproduction and induced apoptosis via activating p53 and AKT signal pathways. Finally, in a xenograft nude mice model, Se@Cur suppressed the growth of tumors. Altogether, the findings in the present study demonstrated the application of Se@Cur as a safe and hopeful strategy for chemotherapeutics of HCC.