Research Papers:

H2S-releasing nanoemulsions: a new formulation to inhibit tumor cells proliferation and improve tissue repair

Matteo Ciocci, Egidio Iorio, Felicia Carotenuto, Haneen A. Khashoggi, Francesca Nanni and Sonia Melino _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:84338-84358. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12609

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Matteo Ciocci1,*, Egidio Iorio2,*, Felicia Carotenuto3, Haneen A. Khashoggi1, Francesca Nanni4, Sonia Melino1

1Department of Chemical Sciences and Technologies, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

2Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

3Department of Clinical Sciences and Translational Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

4Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Sonia Melino, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hydrogen sulfide, garlic, omega-3 fatty acid , antioxidants, cancer

Received: August 20, 2016     Accepted: October 07, 2016     Published: October 12, 2016


The improvement of solubility and/or dissolution rate of poorly soluble natural compounds is an ideal strategy to make them optimal candidates as new potential drugs. Accordingly, the allyl sulfur compounds and omega-3 fatty acids are natural hydrophobic compounds that exhibit two important combined properties: cardiovascular protection and antitumor activity. Here, we have synthesized and characterized a novel formulation of diallyl disulfide (DADS) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) as protein-nanoemulsions (BAD-NEs), using ultrasounds. BAD-NEs are stable over time at room temperature and show antioxidant and radical scavenging property. These NEs are also optimal H2S slow-release donors and show a significant anti-proliferative effect on different human cancer cell lines: MCF-7 breast cancer and HuT 78 T-cell lymphoma cells. BAD-NEs are able to regulate the ERK1/2 pathway, inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase. We have also investigated their effect on cell proliferation of human adult stem/progenitor cells. Interestingly, BAD-NEs are able to improve the Lin Sca1+ human cardiac progenitor cells (hCPC) proliferation. This stem cell growth stimulation is combined with the expression and activation of proteins involved in tissue-repair, such as P-AKT, α-sma and connexin 43. Altogether, our results suggest that these antioxidant nanoemulsions might have potential application in selective cancer therapy and for promoting the muscle tissue repair.

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