Insights into Nano-Photo-Thermal Therapy of Cancer: The Kinetics of Cell Death and Effect on Cell Cycle

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Author(s): Mousa Tabei, Elham Zeinizade, Jaber Beik, S. Kamran Kamrava, Zahra Nasiri, Habib Ghaznavi*, Ali Shakeri-Zadeh*.

Journal Name: Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry
(Formerly Current Medicinal Chemistry - Anti-Cancer Agents)

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Background: Despite considerable advances in nano-photo-thermal therapy (NPTT), there have been a few studies reporting in-depth kinetics of cell death triggered by such a new modality of cancer treatment.

Objective: In this study, we aimed to (1) investigate the cell death pathways regulating the apoptotic responses to NPTT; and (2) ascertain the effect of NPTT on cell cycle progression.

Methods: Folate conjugated gold nanoparticle (F-AuNP) was firstly synthesized, characterized and then assessed to determine its potentials in targeted NPTT. The experiments were conducted on KB nasopharyngeal cancer cells overexpressing folate receptors (FRs), as the model, and L929 normal fibroblast cells with a low level of FRs, as the control. Cytotoxicity was evaluated by MTT assay and the cell death mode (i.e., necrosis or apoptosis) was determined through AnnexinV/FITC-propidium iodide staining. Next, the gene expression profiles of some key apoptotic factors involved in the mitochondrial signaling pathway were investigated using RT-qPCR. Finally, cell cycle phase distribution was investigated at different time points post NPTT using flow cytometric analysis.

Results: The obtained results showed that KB cell death following targeted NPTT was greater than that observed for L929 cells. The majority of KB cell death following NPTT was related to apoptosis. RT-qPCR analysis indicated that the elevated expression of Bax along with the depressed expression of Bcl-xL, Survivin and XIAP may involve in the regulation of apoptosis in response to NPTT. Flow cytometric analysis manifested that 16-24 hours after NPTT, the major proportion of KB cells was in the most radiosensitive phases of the cell cycle (G2/M).

Conclusion: This study extended the understanding of the signaling pathway involved in the apoptotic response to NPTT. Moreover, the potential effect of NPTT on sensitizing cancer cells to subsequent radiation therapy was highlighted.

Keywords: Nano-photo-thermal therapy, gold nanoparticles, folic acid, apoptosis, radiotherapy.

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(E-pub Ahead of Print)
DOI: 10.2174/1871520620666200129111332
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