Background: Cancer is one of the major causes of the death all over the world and affects
people of all ages throughout the world. The drugs that are currently available to treat cancer
have many side effects. Hence, there is considerable scientific interest in the continuing discovery
of new anticancer agents from natural product sources. The aim of this study was to prepare and
characterize nanoparticles combining Indigofera intricate alcoholic extract and chitosan and to
evaluate the anticancer cell proliferative activity for both extract and nanoparticles.
Methods: Dried alcoholic extract was prepared and characterized for its phenolic and flavonoid
contents. Chitosan extract nanoparticles was prepared by ionic gelation method and characterized
by thin layer chromatography (TLC), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), particle
size and zeta-potential analysis. The anticancer cell proliferative activities of both plant extract
and nanoparticles at different concentrations were evaluated using breast cancer cell line (MCF 7).
Results: The alcoholic extract showed high contents from both phenolic and flavonoid constituents
(15 % and 22 % respectively). The interaction of polyphenolic compounds of the extract with
chitosan was confirmed by the TLC and FTIR results. The particle size and zeta-potential of
nanoparticles found to be 400.6nm ± 101.8 nm and +42.1 mV ± 9.27 mV respectively. The plant
extract showed the lowest cell viability of 45.21% ± 4.8% at the highest dose (250 mg) tested in
this investigation. Almost 500-fold reduction (from 250 mg to 0.5 mg) in the extract concentration
required to achieve same anticancer cell proliferative activity when formulated as nanoparticles.
Also 2.5 mg extract containing nanoparticles showed similar anticancer cell proliferative activity
as 5 mg 5-FU.
Conclusion: Our results revealed that traditional medicinal plants could be an excellent source of
natural anticancer agents and the chitosan-extract nanoparticles is a promising formulation strategy
to enhance the clinical effectiveness of the plant extract.
Keywords: Indigofera intricate, Polyphenolic compounds, flavonoids, MCF 7, Chitosan nanoparticles, anticancer cell proliferative activity
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