Intracellular drug release from curcumin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles induces G2/M block in breast cancer cells

Paolo Verderio, Paolo Bonetti, Miriam Colombo, Laura Pandolfi, Davide Prosperi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PLGA nanoparticles are among the most studied polymer nanoformulations for several drugs against different kinds of malignant diseases, thanks to their in vivo stability and tumor localization exploiting the well-documented "enhanced permeation and retention" (EPR) effect. In this paper, we have developed uniform curcumin-bearing PLGA nanoparticles by a single-emulsion process, which exhibited a curcumin release following a Fickian-law diffusion over 10 days in vitro. PLGA nanoparticles were about 120 nm in size, as determined by dynamic light scattering, with a surface negative charge of -30 mV. The loading ratio of encapsulated drug in our PLGA nanoformulation was 8 wt%. PLGA encapsulation provided efficient protection of curcumin from environment, as determined by fluorescence emission experiments. Next, we have investigated the possibility to study the intracellular degradation of nanoparticles associated with a specific G2/M blocking effect on MCF7 breast cancer cells caused by curcumin release in the cytoplasm, which provided direct evidence on the mechanism of action of our nanocomplex. This study was carried out using Annexin V-based cell death analysis, MTT assessment of proliferation, flow cytometry, and confocal laser scanning microscopy. PLGA nanoparticles proved to be completely safe, suggesting a potential utilization of this nanocomplex to improve the intrinsically poor bioavailability of curcumin for the treatment of severe malignant breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-682
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 11 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Biomaterials


Dive into the research topics of 'Intracellular drug release from curcumin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles induces G2/M block in breast cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this