Mentha arvensis (Linn.)-mediated green silver nanoparticles trigger caspase 9-dependent cell death in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells

Prajna Paramita Banerjee, Arindam Bandyopadhyay, Singapura Nagesh Harsha, Rudragoud S Policegoudra, Shelley Bhattacharya, Niranjan Karak, Ansuman Chattopadhyay
Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy 2017, 9: 265-278

INTRODUCTION: Leaf extract of Mentha arvensis or mint plant was used as reducing agent for the synthesis of green silver nanoparticles (GSNPs) as a cost-effective, eco-friendly process compared to that of chemical synthesis. The existence of nanoparticles was characterized by ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry, dynamic light scattering, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, atomic-force microscopy and transmission electron microscopy analyses, which ascertained the formation of spherical GSNPs with a size range of 3-9 nm. Anticancer activities against breast cancer cell lines (MCF7 and MDA-MB-231) were studied and compared with those of chemically synthesized (sodium borohydride [NaBH4]-mediated) silver nanoparticles (CSNPs).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cell survival of nanoparticle-treated and untreated cells was studied by 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Cell-cycle analyses were carried out using fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Cell morphology was observed by fluorescence microscopy. Expression patterns of PARP1, P53, P21, Bcl2, Bax and cleaved caspase 9 as well as caspase 3 proteins in treated and untreated MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells were studied by Western blot method.

RESULTS: MTT assay results showed that Mentha arvensis-mediated GSNPs exhibited significant cytotoxicity toward breast cancer cells (MCF7 and MDA-MB-231), which were at par with that of CSNPs. Cell cycle analyses of MCF7 cells revealed a significant increase in sub-G1 cell population, indicating cytotoxicity of GSNPs. On the other hand, human peripheral blood lymphocytes showed significantly less cytotoxicity compared with MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells when treated with the same dose. Expression patterns of proteins suggested that GSNPs triggered caspase 9-dependent cell death in both cell lines. The Ames test showed that GSNPs were nonmutagenic in nature.

CONCLUSION: GSNPs synthesized using Mentha arvensis may be considered as a promising anticancer agent in breast cancer therapy. They are less toxic and nonmutagenic and mediate caspase 9-dependent apoptosis in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells.

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