Objective: Site-specific and toxic-free drug delivery, is an interesting area of research. Nanoengineered
drug delivery systems possess a remarkable potential for effective treatment of various types of
Methods: In this study, novel Folic Acid (FA) conjugated keratin nanoparticles (NPs) were assembled with
encapsulation and delivery of Rutin (Rt) into breast cancer cells through the overexpressed folate receptor. The
biocompatible, Rt encapsulated FA conjugated keratin NPs (FA@Ker NPs) were successfully formulated by a
modified precipitation technique. Their morphological shape and size, size distribution, stability, and physical
nature were characterized and confirmed. The drug (Rt) encapsulation efficiency, loading capacity and release
kinetics were also studied.
Results: The observed results of molecular docking and density functionality theory of active drug (Rt) showed
a strong interaction and non-covalent binding of the folate receptor and facilitation of endocytosis in breast
cancer cells. Further, in vitro cytotoxic effect of FA@Ker NPs was screened against MCF-7 cancer cells, at 55.2
μg/mL of NPs and found to display 50% of cell death at 24h. Moreover, the NPs enhanced the uptake of Rt in
MCF-7 cells, and the apoptotic effect of condensed nuclei and distorted membrane bodies was observed. Also,
NPs entered into the mitochondria of MCF-7 cells and significantly increased the level of ROS which led to cell
Conclusion: The developed FA@Ker NPs might be a promising way to enhance anti-cancer activity without
disturbing normal healthy cells.