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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2014 Sep 5;138:99-108. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2014.04.006. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

Photodynamic therapy mediated antiproliferative activity of some metal-doped ZnO nanoparticles in human liver adenocarcinoma HepG2 cells under UV irradiation.

Author information

  • 1Drug Radiation Research Department, National Center for Radiation Research and Technology, Atomic Energy Authority, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt. Electronic address:
  • 2Biochemistry Department, Division of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, National Research Centre, Dokki, Giza, Egypt.
  • 3Chemistry Department, Al-Azhar University, Faculty of Science, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a promising new modality for the treatment of cancer through generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this work, human liver adenocarcinoma cells HepG2 were treated with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs), metal-doped-ZnO-NPs: Fe-ZnO-NPs Ag-ZnO-NPs, Pb-ZnO-NPs, and Co-ZnO-NPs, Silica-coated ZnO-NPs, titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2-NPs), titanium dioxide nano-tubes (TiO2-NTs) and ZnO-NPs/TiO2-NTs nanocomposite under UV irradiation. Doxorubicin was used as a standard drug. The results demonstrated that the ZnO-NPs, Fe-ZnO-NPs, Ag-ZnO-NPs, Pb-ZnO-NPs, and Co-ZnO-NPs showed cytotoxicity against HepG2 cells, with the median growth inhibitory concentrations (IC50) 42.60, 37.20, 45.10, 77.20 and 56.50 μg/ml, respectively, as compared to doxorubicin (IC50: 20.10 μg/ml). Treatment of the cancer cells with ZnO-NPs, Fe-ZnO-NPs, Ag-ZnO-NPs, Pb-ZnO-NPs, and Co-ZnO-NPs resulted in a significant increase in the activity of SOD and the levels of H2O2 and NO than those of control, accompanied with a significant decrease in the activity of CAT and GSH-Px. Also, depletion of reduced GSH, total protein and nucleic acids levels was observed. In conclusion, metal-doped ZnO-NPs may induce antiproliferative effect on HepG2 cells under UV-irradiation due to generation of ROS. Therefore, they could be included in modern clinical trials after in vivo more investigations, using photodynamic therapy technique.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


HepG2 cell lines; Metal-doped ZnO-NPs; Photodynamic therapy (PDT); UV-irradiation

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