Background: Multifunctional nanostructures have received great deal of
attention in biomedical area due to their capabilities in the development of new
therapeutic and diagnostic agents. Silver and iron oxide nanoparticles, owing to their
specific characteristics, are considered to develop bifunctional hybrid nanoparticles
for magnetic delivery of silver nanoparticles as cytotoxic agent toward cancer cells.
Objective: This study was designed to explore the in-vitro cytotoxic and apoptotic
activities of three different silver-iron oxide binary hybrid nanoparticles on human
liver hepatocellular carcinoma cell line.
Method: Three different silver-iron oxide binary hybrid nanoparticles were synthesized
and characterized through the designed procedures. Apoptosis induction was investigated through
flow cytometry and the influence on bax gene expression level was analyzed using quantitative real
time polymerase chain reaction.
Results: All the three types of silver-iron oxide hybrid nanoparticles (possessing different characteristics)
exhibited cytotoxic and apoptotic effects. Furthermore, the up regulation of bax gene expression
suggested the involvement of the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis. Some of the transcription regulators
which could interact with bax gene promoter were analyzed and found out to be mostly contributed in
the stress responses. Among the test nanoparticles, the strongest cytotoxic and apoptotic effect was induced
by the binary hybrid nanoparticle which was synthesized with glucose as reducing agent; suggesting
that the biological activity was affected by different characteristics of the designed nanoparticles.
Conclusion: Combined properties of silver and magnetic nanoparticles in the binary hybrid nanoparticles,
provide a great potential to be exploited in the cancer therapy, where the combination of cytotoxicity
and magnetic targeting is desired.