Ovarian cancer incidence continues to increase at an alarming rate. Although various therapeutic approaches exist for ovarian cancer, they have limitations, including undesired side effects. Therefore, nanoparticle (NP)-mediated therapy may be a viable, biocompatible, and suitable alternative. To the best of our knowledge, no comprehensive analysis has been undertaken on the cytotoxicity and cellular pathways involved in ovarian cancer cells, particularly SKOV3 cells. Here, we investigated the effect of palladium NPs (PdNPs) and the molecular mechanisms and cellular pathways involved in ovarian cancer. We assayed cell viability, proliferation, cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and apoptosis and performed an RNA-Seq analysis. The results showed that PdNPs elicited concentration-dependent decreases in cell viability and proliferation and induced increasing cytotoxicity at increasing concentrations, as determined by leakage of lactate dehydrogenase, increased levels of reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde, and decreased levels of antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase. Furthermore, our study revealed that PdNPs induce mitochondrial dysfunction by altering mitochondrial membrane potential, reducing adenosine triphosphate levels, inducing DNA damage, and activating caspase 3, all of which significantly induced apoptosis in SKOV3 cells following PdNPs treatment. Gene ontology (GO) term analysis of PdNPs-exposed SKOV3 cells showed various dysregulated pathways, particularly nucleosome assembly, telomere organization, and rDNA chromatin silencing. When genes downregulated by PdNPs were applied to GO term enrichment analysis, nucleosome assembly was the top-ranked biological pathway. We also provide evidence for an association between PdNPs exposure and multiple layers of epigenetic transcriptional control and establish a molecular basis for NP-mediated apoptosis. These findings provide a foundation, potential targets, and novel insights into the mechanism underlying toxicity and pathways in SKOV3 cells, and open new avenues to identify novel targets for ovarian cancer treatment.
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