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Special Issue "Materials for Photobiology"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Antonino Mazzaglia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR-ISMN c/o Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Enviromental Science, Università degli Studi di Messina, Viale F. Sagno D’ Alcontres 31, 98168 Messina, Italy
Interests: nanoassemblies; cyclodextrin; hybrid nanoparticles; nanophototherapeutic; theranostic
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Angela Scala
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Sciences, Universita degli Studi di Messina, Messina, Italy
Interests: biopolymers; nanoparticles; drug delivery; nanomedicine; carbon-based nanomaterials; nanosensors; nanotechnology; pharmaceuticals
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Enrico Caruso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
Interests: photobiology; organic chemistry; photodynamic therapy; biocatalysis; metal nanoparticles; natural exctracts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Photobiology is a challenging research area aiming to explore the interaction between light and living organisms with applications in the fields of photomedicine, photo(nano)technology, photosynthesis, and photosensory biology. Furthermore, there is a great interest in designing advanced biomaterials with peculiar physicochemical properties and photoresponsive ability that, interacting with light, produce a response which is useful for diagnosis and therapeutic treatment. Therefore, the interaction of light with molecules, nanomaterials, cells, and tissues and the subsequent biological responses represent an interdisciplinary research in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine.

In this Special Issue, we aim to collect contributions from selected players in those fields to address the latest advances in the use of materials for photobiology, including potential scientific and technological applications of their findings in chemistry, biology, drug delivery, bioimaging, and biosensing.

The invited papers will describe light-responsive materials based on macrocyclic assemblies, nanoparticles, micelles, liposomes, polymers, hydrogels, proteins/peptides, plasmonic nanomaterials, carbon-based and silica-based and other photo-responsive hybrid organic and/or inorganic components. This Special Issue welcomes original research and reviews focusing on all aspects of design, preparation, physicochemical characterization, and biological evaluation of materials for photobiology, including phototherapeutic and photodiagnostic materials, with a special focus on materials or biomaterials proposed for light-induced therapies in cancer, infections, and dermatological treatments.

The accepted papers, after a peer reviewing process, will be posted immediately on the website of the International Journal of Molecular Science.

Prof. Dr. Antonino Mazzaglia

Dr. Angela Scala

Dr. Enrico Caruso
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Light-responsive materials
  • Phototherapeutics
  • Photodiagnosis
  • Bioimaging
  • Living bioluminescent materials
  • Light-induced therapy
  • UV-radiation effect
  • Photo-antinfective materials
  • Photosensory biology
  • Molecular optogenetics

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Influence of Incubation Time on Ortho-Toluidine Blue Mediated Antimicrobial Photodynamic Therapy Directed against Selected Candida Strains—An In Vitro Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(20), 10971; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222010971 - 11 Oct 2021
Viewed by 237
Abstract
(1) Background and the aim: The appropriate incubation time in the antimicrobial photodynamic therapy protocol seems to have a huge impact on the efficacy of this process. This is particularly important in relation to Candida strains, due to the size of these cells [...] Read more.
(1) Background and the aim: The appropriate incubation time in the antimicrobial photodynamic therapy protocol seems to have a huge impact on the efficacy of this process. This is particularly important in relation to Candida strains, due to the size of these cells and the presence of the cell wall. The aims of this study were to determine the optimal incubation time needed for the absorption of toluidine blue by cells of C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. krusei and C. parapsilosis using direct observation by optical microscopy, and to evaluate the efficacy of TBO-mediated aPDT on planktonic cells of these strains. (2) Methods: The microscopic evaluation consisted of taking a series of images at a magnification of 600× and counting the % of stained cells. The in vitro effect of TBO-mediated aPDT combined with a diode laser (635 nm, 400mW, 12 J/cm2, CW) on the viability of yeast cells with different incubation times was evaluated. (3) Results: The presence of TBO within the cytoplasm was observed in all tested Candida strains and at all microscopic evaluation times. However, the highest percentages of cells were stained at 7 and 10 min. The highest % reduction of CFU/mL after TBO-mediated aPDT against Candida was obtained for the strain C. albicans ATCC 10,231 and it was 78.55%. (4) Conclusions: TBO-mediated aPDT against Candida was effective in reducing the number of CFU/mL at all assessed incubation times. However, the most efficient period for almost all strains was 7–10 min. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
Nitrogen Functionalities of Amino-Functionalized Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Quantum Dots for Highly Efficient Enhancement of Antimicrobial Therapy to Eliminate Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Utilization as a Contrast Agent
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(18), 9695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22189695 - 07 Sep 2021
Viewed by 393
Abstract
There is an urgent need for materials that can efficiently generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and be used in photodynamic therapy (PDT) as two-photon imaging contrast probes. In this study, graphene quantum dots (GQDs) were subjected to amino group functionalization and nitrogen doping [...] Read more.
There is an urgent need for materials that can efficiently generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and be used in photodynamic therapy (PDT) as two-photon imaging contrast probes. In this study, graphene quantum dots (GQDs) were subjected to amino group functionalization and nitrogen doping (amino-N-GQDs) via annealing and hydrothermal ammonia autoclave treatments. The synthesized dots could serve as a photosensitizer in PDT and generate more ROS than conventional GQDs under 60-s low-energy (fixed output power: 0.07 W·cm−2) excitation exerted by a 670-nm continuous-wave laser. The generated ROS were used to completely eliminate a multidrug-resistant strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a Gram-positive bacterium. Compared with conventional GQDs, the amino-N-GQDs had superior optical properties, including stronger absorption, higher quantum yield (0.34), stronger luminescence, and high stability under exposure. The high photostability and intrinsic luminescence of amino-N-GQDs contribute to their suitability as contrast probes for use in biomedical imaging, in addition to their bacteria tracking and localization abilities. Herein, the dual-modality amino-N-GQDs in PDT easily eliminated multidrug-resistant bacteria, ultimately revealing their potential for use in future clinical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
Photodynamic Inactivation of an Endodontic Bacteria Using Diode Laser and Indocyanine Green-Loaded Nanosphere
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(16), 8384; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22168384 - 04 Aug 2021
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Apical periodontitis, an inflammatory lesion causing bone resorption around the apex of teeth, is treated by eradicating infectious bacteria from the root canal. However, it has a high recurrence rate and often requires retreatment. We investigated the bactericidal effect of antimicrobial photodynamic therapy [...] Read more.
Apical periodontitis, an inflammatory lesion causing bone resorption around the apex of teeth, is treated by eradicating infectious bacteria from the root canal. However, it has a high recurrence rate and often requires retreatment. We investigated the bactericidal effect of antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT)/photodynamic antimicrobial chemotherapy (PACT) using indocyanine green (ICG)-loaded nanospheres coated with chitosan and a diode laser on a biofilm of Enterococcus faecalis, a pathogen of refractory apical periodontitis. Biofilm of E. faecalis was cultured in a porcine infected root canal model. ICG solution was injected into the root canal, which was then irradiated with a laser (810 nm wavelength) from outside the root canal. The bactericidal effect was evaluated by colony counts and scanning electron microscopy. The result of the colony counts showed a maximum 1.89 log reduction after irradiation at 2.1 W for 5 min. The temperature rise during aPDT/PACT was confirmed to be within a safe range. Furthermore, the light energy transmittance through the root was at a peak approximately 1 min after the start of irradiation, indicating that most of the ICG in the root canal was consumed. This study shows that aPDT/PACT can suppress E. faecalis in infected root canals with high efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
Improving Consistency of Photobiomodulation Therapy: A Novel Flat-Top Beam Hand-Piece versus Standard Gaussian Probes on Mitochondrial Activity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(15), 7788; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22157788 - 21 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 472
Abstract
The tremendous therapeutic potential of photobiomodulation therapy in different branches of medicine has been described in the literature. One of the molecular mechanisms for this treatment implicates the mitochondrial enzyme, cytochrome C oxidase. However, the efficacy and consistency of clinical outcomes with photobiomodulation [...] Read more.
The tremendous therapeutic potential of photobiomodulation therapy in different branches of medicine has been described in the literature. One of the molecular mechanisms for this treatment implicates the mitochondrial enzyme, cytochrome C oxidase. However, the efficacy and consistency of clinical outcomes with photobiomodulation treatments has been fiercely debated. This work was motivated by this need to improve photobiomodulation devices and delivery approaches. We designed a novel hand-piece with a flat-top beam profile of irradiation. We compared the beam profile versus a standard hand-piece and a fibre probe. We utilized isolated mitochondria and performed treatments at various spots within the beam, namely, the centre, left and right edge. We examined mitochondrial activity by assessing ATP synthesis with the luciferin/luciferase chemiluminescent method as a primary endpoint, while mitochondrial damage was assessed as the secondary endpoint. We observed a uniform distribution of the power density with the flat-top prototype compared to a wide Gaussian beam profile with the standard fibre and standard hand-piece. We noted increased production of ATP in the centre of all three beams with respect to the non-treated controls (p < 0.05). Both the fibre and standard hand-piece demonstrated less increase in ATP synthesis at the edges than the centre (p < 0.05). In contrast, ATP synthesis was increased homogenously in the flat-top handpiece, both in the centre and the edges of the beam. Fibre, standard hand-piece and the flat-top hand-piece prototype have discrete beam distribution characteristics. This significantly affected the mitochondrial activity with respect to their position within the treated areas. Flat-top hand-piece enhances the uniformity of photobiomodulation treatments and can improve the rigour and reproducibility of PBM clinical outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
Photoinactivation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm by Dicationic Diaryl-Porphyrin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 6808; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136808 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 615
Abstract
In recent years, antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) has received increasing attention as a promising tool aimed at both treating microbial infections and sanitizing environments. Since biofilm formation on biological and inert surfaces makes difficult the eradication of bacterial communities, further studies are needed [...] Read more.
In recent years, antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) has received increasing attention as a promising tool aimed at both treating microbial infections and sanitizing environments. Since biofilm formation on biological and inert surfaces makes difficult the eradication of bacterial communities, further studies are needed to investigate such tricky issue. In this work, a panel of 13 diaryl-porphyrins (neutral, mono- and di-cationic) was taken in consideration to photoinactivate Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Among cationic photosensitizers (PSs) able to efficiently bind cells, in this study two dicationic showed to be intrinsically toxic and were ruled out by further investigations. In particular, the dicationic porphyrin (P11) that was not toxic, showed a better photoinactivation rate than monocationic in suspended cells. Furthermore, it was very efficient in inhibiting the biofilms produced by the model microorganism Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 and by clinical strains derived from urinary tract infection and cystic fibrosis patients. Since P. aeruginosa represents a target very difficult to inactivate, this study confirms the potential of dicationic diaryl-porphyrins as photo-activated antimicrobials in different applicative fields, from clinical to environmental ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
Antibacterial Photodynamic Inactivation of Fagopyrin F from Tartary Buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum) Flower against Streptococcus mutans and Its Biofilm
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(12), 6205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22126205 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 411
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by fagopyrin F-rich fraction (FFF) separated from Tartary buckwheat flower extract exposed to lights and to investigate its antibacterial photodynamic inactivation (PDI) against Streptococcus mutans and its biofilm. ROS producing [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to determine reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by fagopyrin F-rich fraction (FFF) separated from Tartary buckwheat flower extract exposed to lights and to investigate its antibacterial photodynamic inactivation (PDI) against Streptococcus mutans and its biofilm. ROS producing mechanisms involving FFF with light exposure were determined using a spectrophotometer and a fluorometer. S. mutans and its biofilm inactivation after PDI treatment of FFF using blue light (BL; 450 nm) were determined by plate count method and crystal violet assay, respectively. The biofilm destruction by ROS produced from FFF after exposure to BL was visualized using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM). BL among 3 light sources produced type 1 ROS the most when applying FFF as a photosensitizer. FFF exposed to BL (5 and 10 J/cm2) significantly more inhibited S. mutans viability and biofilm formation than FFF without the light exposure (p < 0.05). In the PDI of FFF exposed to BL (10 J/cm2), an apparent destruction of S. mutans and its biofilm were observed by the CLSM and FE-SEM. Antibacterial PDI effect of FFF was determined for the first time in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
FLTX2: A Novel Tamoxifen Derivative Endowed with Antiestrogenic, Fluorescent, and Photosensitizer Properties
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(10), 5339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22105339 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 749
Abstract
Tamoxifen is the most widely used selective modulator of estrogen receptors (SERM) and the first strategy as coadjuvant therapy for the treatment of estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer worldwide. In spite of such success, tamoxifen is not devoid of undesirable effects, the most [...] Read more.
Tamoxifen is the most widely used selective modulator of estrogen receptors (SERM) and the first strategy as coadjuvant therapy for the treatment of estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer worldwide. In spite of such success, tamoxifen is not devoid of undesirable effects, the most life-threatening reported so far affecting uterine tissues. Indeed, tamoxifen treatment is discouraged in women under risk of uterine cancers. Recent molecular design efforts have endeavoured the development of tamoxifen derivatives with antiestrogen properties but lacking agonistic uterine tropism. One of this is FLTX2, formed by the covalent binding of tamoxifen as ER binding core, 7-nitrobenzofurazan (NBD) as the florescent dye, and Rose Bengal (RB) as source for reactive oxygen species. Our analyses demonstrate (1) FLTX2 is endowed with similar antiestrogen potency as tamoxifen and its predecessor FLTX1, (2) shows a strong absorption in the blue spectral range, associated to the NBD moiety, which efficiently transfers the excitation energy to RB through intramolecular FRET mechanism, (3) generates superoxide anions in a concentration- and irradiation time-dependent process, and (4) Induces concentration- and time-dependent MCF7 apoptotic cell death. These properties make FLTX2 a very promising candidate to lead a novel generation of SERMs with the endogenous capacity to promote breast tumour cell death in situ by photosensitization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
Nitrogen-Doped Titanium Dioxide Mixed with Calcium Peroxide and Methylcellulose for Dental Bleaching under Visible Light Activation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3759; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073759 - 04 Apr 2021
Viewed by 760
Abstract
The available tooth whitening products in the market contain high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as an active ingredient. Therefore, in order to curb the high H2O2 concentration and instability of liquid H2O2 [...] Read more.
The available tooth whitening products in the market contain high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as an active ingredient. Therefore, in order to curb the high H2O2 concentration and instability of liquid H2O2, this study evaluated the efficacy and cytotoxicity of the bleaching gel composed of 10% calcium peroxide (CaO2) and visible-light-activating nitrogen-doped titanium dioxide (N-TiO2) with methyl cellulose as a thickener. Extracted bovine teeth were discolored using coffee and black tea stain solution and were divided into two groups (n = 6). Bleaching was performed thrice on each tooth specimen in both the groups, with one minute of visible light irradiation during each bleaching time. The CIELAB L*a*b* values were measured pre- and post-bleaching. The N-TiO2 calcinated at 350 °C demonstrated a shift towards the visible light region by narrowing the band gap energy from 3.23 eV to 2.85 eV. The brightness (ΔL) and color difference (ΔE) increased as bleaching progressed each time in both the groups. ANOVA results showed that the number of bleaching significantly affected ΔE (p < 0.05). The formulated bleaching gel exhibits good biocompatibility and non-toxicity upon exposure to 3T3 cells. Our findings showed that CaO2-based bleaching gel at neutral pH could be a stable, safe, and effective substitute for tooth whitening products currently available in the market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
Role of Phage Capsid in the Resistance to UV-C Radiations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073408 - 26 Mar 2021
Viewed by 618
Abstract
The conformational variation of the viral capsid structure plays an essential role both for the environmental resistance and acid nuclear release during cellular infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate how capsid rearrangement in engineered phages of M13 protects viral DNA [...] Read more.
The conformational variation of the viral capsid structure plays an essential role both for the environmental resistance and acid nuclear release during cellular infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate how capsid rearrangement in engineered phages of M13 protects viral DNA and peptide bonds from damage induced by UV-C radiation. From in silico 3D modelling analysis, two M13 engineered phage clones, namely P9b and 12III1, were chosen for (i) chemical features of amino acids sequences, (ii) rearrangements in the secondary structure of their pVIII proteins and (iii) in turn the interactions involved in phage capsid. Then, their resistance to UV-C radiation and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) was compared to M13 wild-type vector (pC89) without peptide insert. Results showed that both the phage clones acquired an advantage against direct radiation damage, due to a reorganization of interactions in the capsid for an increase of H-bond and steric interactions. However, only P9b had an increase in resistance against H2O2. These results could help to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the stability of new virus variants, also providing quick and necessary information to develop effective protocols in the virus inactivation for human activities, such as safety foods and animal-derived materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Article
In Vitro Photodynamic Effects of the Inclusion Nanocomplexes of Glucan and Chlorin e6 on Atherogenic Foam Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010177 - 26 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 813
Abstract
Macrophage-derived foam cells play critical roles in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Activated macrophages and foam cells are important biomarkers for targeted imaging and inflammatory disease therapy. Macrophages also express the dectin-1 receptor, which specifically recognizes β-glucan (Glu). Here, we prepared photoactivatable [...] Read more.
Macrophage-derived foam cells play critical roles in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Activated macrophages and foam cells are important biomarkers for targeted imaging and inflammatory disease therapy. Macrophages also express the dectin-1 receptor, which specifically recognizes β-glucan (Glu). Here, we prepared photoactivatable nanoagents (termed Glu/Ce6 nanocomplexes) by encapsulating hydrophobic chlorin e6 (Ce6) within the triple-helix structure of Glu in aqueous condition. Glu/Ce6 nanocomplexes generate singlet oxygen upon laser irradiation. The Glu/Ce6 nanocomplexes were internalized into foam cells and delivered Ce6 molecules into the cytoplasm of foam cells. Upon laser irradiation, they induced significant membrane damage and apoptosis of foam cells. These results suggest that Glu/Ce6 nanocomplexes can be a photoactivatable material for treating atherogenic foam cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photobiology)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Dr. Kwang-Poo Chang

Topic: communication about genetic deficiencies of parasitic trypanosome protozoa, specifically Leishmania, in heme biosynthesis and their transfection with mammalian cDNAs encoding the 2nd and 3rd enzymes in this pathway. As a result, exposure of such transfectants to the product of the 1st enzyme in heme biosynthesis, delta-aminolevulinate, results in cytosolic accumulation of uroporphyrin I, rendering them highly sensitive to singlet oxygen-initiated inactivation by dim light or longwave UV. Loading these uroporphyric Leishmania in their endosomes with cationic phthalocyanines further sensitizes them for such inactivation with red light. The installation of dual suicidal mechanisms renders Leishmania completely non-viable, but maintains their immunological properties as a carrier for safe and effective delivery of vaccines against malignant and infectious diseases.

Dr. Cristiano Viappiani

Topic: review on targeting photosensitizers using antibodies

Dr. Giada Magni

Title: Blue LED light treatment induces a better recovery of superficial skin wounds in mice, by modulating the cytokine levels and the inflammatory response

Dr. Magdalena Skonieczna

Topic: The first about novel Ga-based drugs for anticancer PDT therapy; the second about ADSCs and their potential in oxidative stress reduction with connection to cancer cells' resistance to anticancer AgNPs.

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