Light-triggered selective ROS-dependent autophagy by bioactive nanoliposomes for efficient cancer theranostics†
Light-responsive nanoliposomes are being reported to induce cancer cell death through heat and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Nanoliposomes (CIR NLPs) encapsulating a near-infrared (NIR) light-sensitive dye, IR780, and a bioactive chlorophyll-rich fraction of Anthocephalus cadamba (CfAc) were synthesized and characterized. These CIR NLPs, when activated by NIR light, displayed localized synergistic cancer cell death under in vitro and in vivo conditions. We demonstrated a NIR light-mediated release of CfAc in cancer cells. The bioactive CfAc was selective in causing ROS generation (leading to autophagic cell death) in cancer cells, while normal healthy cells were unaffected. An increase in the intracellular ROS leading to enhanced lipidation of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3-II) was observed only in cancer cells, while normal cells showed no increase in either ROS or LC3-II. In vivo analysis of CIR NLPs in an orthotopic mouse model showed better anti-tumorigenic potential through a combined effect (i.e. via heat and CfAc). We reported for the first time induction of selective and localized, bioactive phyto fraction-mediated autophagic cancer cell death through an NIR light trigger. The synergistic activation of ROS-mediated autophagy by light-triggered nanoliposomes can be a useful strategy for enhancing the anticancer potential of combinational therapies.