Background: Cancer is one of the major causes of the death 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 sources. The aim of this study was to prepare and characterize nanoparticles combining Indigofera intricata crude 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 their clinical effectiveness.