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Nanomaterials 2018, 8(2), 126;

Production of Curcumin-Loaded Silk Fibroin Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapy

Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Chemistry, Regional Campus of International Excellence “Campus Mare Nostrum”, University of Murcia, 30071 Murcia, Spain
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA 01609, USA
Department of Biotechnology, Instituto Murciano de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario y Alimentario (IMIDA), La Alberca, 30150 Murcia, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 January 2018 / Revised: 16 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
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Curcumin, extracted from the rhizome of Curcuma longa, has been widely used in medicine for centuries due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial effects. However, its bioavailability during treatments is poor because of its low solubility in water, slow dissolution rate and rapid intestinal metabolism. For these reasons, improving the therapeutic efficiency of curcumin using nanocarriers (e.g., biopolymer nanoparticles) has been a research focus, to foster delivery of the curcumin inside cells due to their small size and large surface area. Silk fibroin from the Bombyx mori silkworm is a biopolymer characterized by its biocompatibility, biodegradability, amphiphilic chemistry, and excellent mechanical properties in various material formats. These features make silk fibroin nanoparticles useful vehicles for delivering therapeutic drugs, such as curcumin. Curcumin-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles were synthesized using two procedures (physical adsorption and coprecipitation) more scalable than methods previously described using ionic liquids. The results showed that nanoparticle formulations were 155 to 170 nm in diameter with a zeta potential of approximately −45 mV. The curcumin-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles obtained by both processing methods were cytotoxic to carcinogenic cells, while not decreasing viability of healthy cells. In the case of tumor cells, curcumin-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles presented higher efficacy in cytotoxicity against neuroblastoma cells than hepatocarcinoma cells. In conclusion, curcumin-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles constitute a biodegradable and biocompatible delivery system with the potential to treat tumors by local, long-term sustained drug delivery. View Full-Text
Keywords: antitumor activity; curcumin; hepatocarcinoma; nanoparticle; neuroblastoma; silk fibroin antitumor activity; curcumin; hepatocarcinoma; nanoparticle; neuroblastoma; silk fibroin

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Montalbán, M.G.; Coburn, J.M.; Lozano-Pérez, A.A.; Cenis, J.L.; Víllora, G.; Kaplan, D.L. Production of Curcumin-Loaded Silk Fibroin Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapy. Nanomaterials 2018, 8, 126.

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