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Enhanced antitumor activity of realgar mediated by milling it to nanosize

Authors Tian Y, Wang X, Xi R, Pan W, Jiang S, Li Z, Zhao Y, Gao G, Liu D

Received 22 October 2013

Accepted for publication 12 December 2013

Published 31 January 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 745—757


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Ye Tian,1 Xiaobo Wang,1,2 Ronggang Xi,1,2 Weisan Pan,1 Shuang Jiang,2 Zhao Li,1 Yu Zhao,3 Guanghui Gao,4 Dan Liu2

1Department of Pharmaceutics, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, 2Department of Pharmacy, 210th Hospital of People's Liberation Army, Dalian, 3Department of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, 4Department of Laboratory Medicine, Liaoning Institute for Food and Drug Control, Shenyang, People's Republic of China

Abstract: Realgar is a poorly water-soluble compound that exhibits poor bioavailability. To improve this, the authors reduced the particle size of realgar to nanoscale by high-energy ball milling and optimized the preparation process under which (realgar weight 40 g, milling time 9 hours, milling speed 38 Hz, milling temperature -20°C) realgar nanoparticles (NPs) with an average size of 78±8.3 nm were prepared. The average particle size of realgar was characterized by laser scattering, and its apparent shape was observed by transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The solubility of realgar was enhanced after milling until the particles were in the nanoscale region without altering its properties, as confirmed by a scanning electron microscopy energy-dispersive spectrometer. Realgar NPs had higher cytotoxicity on the selected cell lines, namely human breast cancer (MCF7), human hepatoma (HepG2), and human lung cancer (A549) cell lines, than coarse realgar. In addition, a pharmacokinetics study performed in rats indicated that the relative bioavailability of realgar NPs was 216.9% compared with coarse realgar; a biodistribution study performed in mice showed that after intragastric administration of realgar NPs, higher arsenic concentration was reached in the tumor, heart, liver, spleen, lung, and kidney compared with the administration of coarse realgar, as confirmed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to determine the concentration of arsenic. This study indicated that high-energy ball milling is an effective way to reduce the average particle size of realgar, and compared with coarse realgar, the cytotoxicity and bioavailability of realgar NPs were significantly improved.

Keywords: realgar nanoparticles, high-energy ball milling, cytotoxicity, pharmacokinetics, biodistribution

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