Apoptosis induction and proliferation inhibition by silibinin encapsulated in nanoparticles in MIA PaCa-2 cancer cells and deregulation of some miRNAs

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht, Iran

2 Stem cell Technology Research Center, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Objective(s): Silibinin, as an herbal compound, has anti-cancer activity. Because of low solubility of silibinin in water and body fluids, it was encapsulated in polymersome nanoparticles and its effects were evaluated on pancreatic cancer cells and cancer stem cells.
Materials and Methods: MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells were treated with different doses of silibinin encapsulated in polymersome nanoparticles (SPNs). Stemness of MIA PaCa-2 cells was evaluated by hanging drop technique and CD133, CD24, and CD44 staining. The effects of SPNs on cell cycle, apoptosis and the expression of several genes and miRNAs were investigated.
Results: IC50 of SPNs was determined to be 40 µg/ml after 24 hr. Our analysis showed that >98% of MIA PaCa-2 cells expressed three stem cell markers. FACS analysis showed a decrease in these markers in SPNs-treated cells. PI/AnnexinV staining revealed that 40 µg/ml and 50 µg/ml of SPNs increased apoptosis up to ~40% and >80% of treated cells, respectively. Upregulation of miR-34a, miR-126, and miR-let7b and downregulation of miR-155, miR-222 and miR-21 was observed in SPNs-treated cells. In addition, downregulation of some genes involved in proliferation or migration such as AKT3, MASPINE, and SERPINEA12, and upregulation of apoptotic genes were observed in treated cells.
Conclusion: Our results suggested that SPNs induced apoptosis and inhibited migration and proliferation in pancreatic cells and cancer stem cells through suppression of some onco-miRs and induction of some tumor suppressive miRs, as well as their targets.


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