In this study, curcumin loaded chitin nanogels (CCNGs) were developed using biocompatible and biodegradable chitin with an anticancer curcumin drug. Chitin, as well as curcumin, is insoluble in water. However, the developed CCNGs form a very good and stable dispersion in water. The CCNGs were analyzed by DLS, SEM and FTIR and showed spherical particles in a size range of 70-80 nm. The CCNGs showed higher release at acidic pH compared to neutral pH. The cytotoxicity of the nanogels were analyzed on human dermal fibroblast cells (HDF) and A375 (human melanoma) cell lines and the results show that CCNGs have specific toxicity on melanoma in a concentration range of 0.1-1.0 mg mL -1, but less toxicity towards HDF cells. The confocal analysis confirmed the uptake of CCNGs by A375. The apoptotic effect of CCNGs was analyzed by a flow-cytometric assay and the results indicate that CCNGs at the higher concentration of the cytotoxic range showed comparable apoptosis as the control curcumin, in which there was negligible apoptosis induced by the control chitin nanogels. The CCNGs showed a 4-fold increase in steady state transdermal flux of curcumin as compared to that of control curcumin solution. The histopathology studies of the porcine skin samples treated with the prepared materials showed loosening of the horny layer of the epidermis, facilitating penetration with no observed signs of inflammation. These results suggest that the formulated CCNGs offer specific advantage for the treatment of melanoma, the most common and serious type of skin cancer, by effective transdermal penetration.
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S. Mangalathillam, Rejinold, N. S., Nair, A., Lakshmanan, V. - K., Shantikumar V Nair, Dr. Jayakumar Rangasamy, and Dr. Sabitha M., “Curcumin Loaded Chitin Nanogels for Skin Cancer Treatment via the Transdermal Route”, Nanoscale, vol. 4, pp. 239-250, 2012.