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J Biol Inorg Chem. 2014 Mar;19(3):399-414. doi: 10.1007/s00775-013-1085-2. Epub 2014 Jan 21.

Chitosan-modified cobalt oxide nanoparticles stimulate TNF-α-mediated apoptosis in human leukemic cells.

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  • 1Immunology and Microbiology Laboratory, Department of Human Physiology with Community Health, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, 721102, West Bengal, India.


The objective of this study was to develop chitosan-based delivery of cobalt oxide nanoparticles to human leukemic cells and investigate their specific induction of apoptosis. The physicochemical properties of the chitosan-coated cobalt oxide nanoparticles were characterized using transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, X-ray diffraction, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The solubility of chitosan-coated cobalt oxide nanoparticles was higher at acidic pH, which helps to release more cobalt ions into the medium. Chitosan-coated cobalt oxide nanoparticles showed good compatibility with normal cells. However, our results showed that exposure of leukemic cells (Jurkat cells) to chitosan-coated cobalt oxide nanoparticles caused an increase in reactive oxygen species generation that was abolished by pretreatment of cells with the reactive oxygen species scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine. The apoptosis of Jurkat cells was confirmed by flow-cytometric analysis. Induction of TNF-α secretion was observed from stimulation of Jurkat cells with chitosan-coated cobalt oxide nanoparticles. We also tested the role of TNF-α in the induction of Jurkat cell death in the presence of TNF-α and caspase inhibitors. Treatment of leukemic cells with a blocker had a greater effect on cancer cell viability. From our findings, oxidative stress and caspase activation are involved in cancer cell death induced by chitosan-coated cobalt oxide nanoparticles.

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