New approach toward anti-cancer drug development: Curcumin nanoparticles encapsulated by 1-3/1-6 β-glucan from Vietnamese medicinal mushrooms

L.M. Huong
Institute of natural products Chemistry, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology,
Viet Nam

Keywords: Curcumin, β-glucan, anticancer, nanoparticles, dual effect.


Curcumin is a polyphenol from turmeric Curcuma longa L. that has been proved to possess numerous biological and pharmaceutical activities, including anti-cancer properties. However, curcumin has only limited clinical applications due to the aqueous insolubility characteristic that reduces its biological availability. On the other hand, using nanoparticles as drug delivery system has potential as it increases solubility of hydrophobic substances such as curcumin. Furthermore, nanoparticles can protect and control release of drug. Therefore, the objective of this project is to prepare nanoparticles by polymeric encapsulating curcumin by 1-3/1-6 β-glucan extracted from Vietnamese mushrooms to increase drug delivery efficiency and biological effect. Method of the preparation is nano-precipitation. The produced curcumin-β-glucan-nanoparticles (NanoGluCur) take spherical shape with 60–70 nm in diameter. As expected, water solubility of curcumin increases about 180 times, from 0.6 to 0.11 mg ml−1. Loading capacity of NanoGluCur is 18.16%. In vitro cytotoxicity and anti-tumor promoting effects of NanoGluCur were also investigated. Results revealed that NanoGluCur is able to inhibit the growth of two human cancer cell lines Hep-G2 and LU-1 with IC50 values of 6.82 and 15.53−1, respectively, while pristine curcumin expresses the activity with IC50 values of 7.41 and 18.82−1. At the concentration of 40−1, NanoGluCur showed anti-tumor promoting effects in reducing tumor size by 59.93% and tumor density by 40.52%, while the percentages caused by pristine curcumin were 41.36 and 29.14%, respectively. These results demonstrated may have the dual effect of 1-3/1-6-β-glucan encapsulated curcumin nanoparticles: Higher water solubility and better in vitro anti-cancer effects. This observation can potentially open a new approach in research and manufacture of anticancer agents from medicinal mushrooms.