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The Photodynamic Effect of Different Size ZnO Nanoparticles on Cancer Cell Proliferation In Vitro

Jingyuan Li1, Dadong Guo1, Xuemei Wang1*, Huangping Wang1, Hui Jiang1 and Baoan Chen2

Author affiliations

1 State Key Lab of Bioelectronics (Chien-Shiung WU Laboratory), Southeast University, 210096, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China

2 Department of Hematology, Zhongda Hospital, Southeast University, 210009, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2010, 5:1063-1071  doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9603-4

Published: 16 April 2010


Nanomaterials have widely been used in the field of biological and biomedicine, such as tissue imaging, diagnosis and cancer therapy. In this study, we explored the cytotoxicity and photodynamic effect of different-sized ZnO nanoparticles to target cells. Our observations demonstrated that ZnO nanoparticles exerted dose-dependent and time-dependent cytotoxicity for cancer cells like hepatocellular carcinoma SMMC-7721 cells in vitro. Meanwhile, it was observed that UV irradiation could enhance the suppression ability of ZnO nanoparticles on cancer cells proliferation, and these effects were in the size-dependent manner. Furthermore, when ZnO nanoparticles combined with daunorubicin, the related cytotoxicity of anticancer agents on cancer cells was evidently enhanced, suggesting that ZnO nanoparticles could play an important role in drug delivery. This may offer the possibility of the great potential and promising applications of the ZnO nanoparticles in clinical and biomedical areas like photodynamic cancer therapy and others.

ZnO nanoparticle; SMMC-7721; Photodynamic cancer therapy (PDT); Size effect; Drug delivery