Naringenin (NAR), a flavonoid present in a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs, exhibits a wide range of pharmacological effects, including anticancer activity. Nevertheless, its application in cancer therapy is limited due to its low bioavailability at the tumour site because of its poor solubility in water and slow dissolution rate. To improve the therapeutic efficacy of NAR, emergent research is looking into using nanocarriers. Silk fibroin (SF), from the Bombyx mori
silkworm, is a biocompatible and biodegradable polymer with excellent mechanical properties and an amphiphilic chemistry that make it a promising candidate as a controlled release drug system. The aim of this work is to synthesize naringenin-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles (NAR-SFNs) by dissolving the SF in the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate, using high-power ultrasounds and rapid desolvation in methanol followed by the adsorption of NAR. The NAR-SFNs were characterized by dynamic light scattering, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis. The drug loading content and encapsulation efficiency were calculated. The drug release profile best fitted a first order equation. The cytotoxicity effects of free NAR, bare silk fibroin nanoparticles (SFNs) and NAR-SFNs were assessed on HeLa and EA.hy926 cells via 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The results demonstrated the higher in vitro anticancer potential of synthesized NAR-SFNs than that of free NAR in HeLa cancer cells.
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