Silver nanoparticles of Albizia adianthifolia : the induction of apoptosis in a human lung carcinoma cell line.
Silver nanoparticles (AgNP), the most popular nano-compounds, possess unique chemical, physical and biological properties. Albizia adianthifolia (AA) – rich in saponins – is a plant of the Fabaceae family, found abundantly on the East coast of Africa. This plant is well known for its medicinal properties, and although the exact phytochemistry of AA is unknown, recent research suggests that AA can be used for the treatment of certain pathologies. The biological properties of a novel silver nanoparticle (AAAgNP) synthesised from an aqueous leaf extract of AA, were investigated on A549 lung carcinoma cells. Cell viability was determined by the 3-(4,5-Dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide assay. Cellular oxidative status (lipid peroxidation and glutathione (GSH) levels) were determined by the TBARS and GSH-Glo™ Glutatione assays respectively. ATP concentration was measured using the CellTitre-Glo™ assay. Caspase-3/-7, -8 and -9 activities were determined by Caspase-Glo® assays. Flow cytometry was used to measure apoptosis, mitochondrial (mt) membrane depolarisation, expression of CD95 receptors and intracellular smac/DIABLO levels. DNA fragmentation was assessed with the comet assay. The expression of p53, bax, PARP-1 and smac/DIABLO was evaluated by western blotting. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to determine mRNA levels of bax and p53. AAAgNP caused a dose-dependent decrease in cell viability with a significant increase in lipid peroxidation (5-fold vs. control; p=0.0098) and decreased intracellular GSH (p=0.1184). A significant 2.5-fold decrease in cellular ATP was observed upon AAAgNP exposure (p=0.0040) with a highly significant elevation in mt membrane depolarisation (3.3-fold vs. control; p<0.0001). Apoptosis was also significantly higher (1.5-fold) in AAAgNP treated cells (p<0.0001) with a significant decline in expression of CD95 receptors (p=0.0416). AAAgNP caused a significant 2.5-fold reduction in caspase-8 activity (p=0.0024) with contrasting increases in caspase-3/-7 (1.7-fold vs. control; p=0.0180) and -9 activity (1.4-fold vs. control; p=0.0117). Western blots showed increased expression of smac/DIABLO (4.1-fold) in treated cells (p=0.0033). Furthermore, AAAgNP significantly increased the expression of p53, bax cleaved PARP-1 (1.2-fold; p=0.0498, 1.6-fold; p=0.0083 and 1.1-fold; p=0.0359 respectively). The expression of mRNA for both p53 and bax was also elevated post AAAgNP treatment, with 6-fold (p=0.0036) and 5-fold (p=0.0080) changes respectively compared to untreated cells. Data suggests that AAAgNP induces cell death in the A549 lung cells via the mt-mediated intrinsic apoptotic program. Further investigations are required to assess the potential use of AAAgNP in cancer treatment.