Main content area

Exfoliated graphene nanosheets: pH-sensitive drug carrier and anti-cancer activity

Tyagi, Nisha, Attia, Nour F., Geckeler, Kurt E.
Journal of colloid and interface science 2017 v.498 pp. 364-377
antineoplastic activity, caspase-3, cell death, cytotoxicity, doxorubicin, drug carriers, endocytosis, enzyme activity, graphene, mitochondria, nanoparticles, nanosheets, neoplasm cells, neoplasms, oxidative stress, oxygen, pH, tight junctions
A straightforward and facile method for the exfoliation of graphene sheets using poly(vinylpyrrolidone) nanoparticles of an average size of 42nm was developed and their dual role as pH-sensitive drug carrier and anti-cancer agent was evaluated. The cytotoxic impact of the exfoliated nanosheets (GRP-PVP-NP) was examined on various cells (HCT-116, HeLa, SCC-9, NIH-3T3 and HEK-293cells) by a series of assays. Their cytotoxic nature was attributed to affecting the mitochondrial enzyme activity, proliferation capability, and the formation of tight junctions in cancer cells. The endocytosis was found to be internalization mechanism for the cellular uptake of nanosheets. The generation of reactive oxygen species and elicitation of caspase-3 activity which was undoubtedly associated with triggering of oxidative stress speculated to be the dominant cause of the cytotoxic pattern of nanosheets against cancer cells. Additionally, the results also showed the role of the nanosheets as a pH-sensitive drug carrier through drug loading by supramolecular interaction. The efficient release of doxorubicin was seen at low pH and in an environment with a low oxygen concentration, thus under conditions mimicking the typical tumor microenvironment. Therefore, these findings provide the first evidence for a dual function of exfoliated graphene sheets and also elucidate the cytotoxic mechanism responsible for the cancer cell death.