Curcumin-Coated Carbon Nanotubes: A Safer Alternative

Jim Crocker
26th March, 2024

Curcumin-Coated Carbon Nanotubes: A Safer Alternative

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In India, curcumin-coated nanotubes reduced inflammation in cells
  • The coating also decreased oxidative stress by lowering harmful molecules
  • Curcumin-coated nanotubes helped maintain cell energy production and survival
In the realm of modern medicine, the quest to deliver drugs in a targeted and efficient manner is a crucial one. A promising avenue in this pursuit involves the use of Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs), which have gained attention for their potential in ferrying therapeutic agents directly to disease sites, such as tumors in cancer treatment. However, despite their inert nature and utility, MWCNTs have been associated with adverse effects on cells, particularly when exposure is prolonged or at high concentrations. These effects range from cytotoxicity and inflammation to oxidative stress and genotoxicity, raising concerns about their safety profile[2]. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Indore have conducted a study[1] that seeks to mitigate such adverse effects by harnessing the properties of a natural compound known for its healing virtues: curcumin. Extracted from the plant Curcuma longa, curcumin is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cytoprotective effects[3]. In this innovative study, scientists have synthesized curcumin-coated lysine-functionalized MWCNTs and evaluated their impact on cellular health. The study found that cells exposed to curcumin-coated MWCNTs exhibited a significant decrease in the levels of inflammatory molecules, such as IL-6, IL-8, IL-1β, TNFα, and NFκB. This is noteworthy as these molecules are key players in the body's inflammatory response, and their overproduction can lead to harmful effects[3]. The results suggest that the curcumin coating on MWCNTs might act as a shield, reducing the ability of the nanotubes to provoke inflammation. Another critical finding from the study is the reduction in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells treated with curcumin-coated MWCNTs. ROS are chemically reactive molecules that can cause oxidative stress, damaging cells and leading to various diseases[2]. The study also observed an upregulation of catalase, an antioxidant enzyme that helps protect cells from oxidative damage. These results align with the known antioxidant properties of curcumin[3]. Mitochondria, known as the powerhouses of the cell, are crucial for energy production. The study showed that curcumin coating aided in the recovery of mitochondrial membrane potential, which is often disrupted by exposure to harmful agents. This finding indicates that curcumin not only protects cells from immediate damage but also helps preserve their vital functions. Lastly, the study demonstrated that cells exposed to curcumin-coated MWCNTs showed reduced cell death compared to those exposed to uncoated MWCNTs. This cytoprotective effect further underscores curcumin's potential as a beneficial coating for nanotubes, ensuring they can perform their drug delivery role more safely. The research builds on and expands previous studies that have explored the use of MWCNTs in drug delivery[4][5]. While earlier studies have indicated the potential genotoxicity and impact on cellular health of CNTs[2], this new study offers a promising solution by combining the therapeutic benefits of curcumin with the delivery capabilities of MWCNTs. In summary, the Indian Institute of Technology Indore's study presents a significant advancement in the safe application of nanotechnology in medicine. By coating MWCNTs with curcumin, the researchers have created a nanotube-based delivery system that not only retains its efficiency but also incorporates protective properties against the adverse effects typically associated with MWCNTs. This approach could pave the way for safer and more effective treatments for a wide range of diseases, particularly those where inflammation and oxidative stress play a pivotal role.



Main Study

1) Curcumin coating: a novel solution to mitigate inherent carbon nanotube toxicity.

Published 25th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Reactive oxygen species production, genotoxicity and telomere length in FE1-Muta™Mouse lung epithelial cells exposed to carbon nanotubes.

3) Experimental and clinical reports on anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects of Curcuma longa and curcumin, an updated and comprehensive review.

4) An effective nano drug delivery and combination therapy for the treatment of Tuberculosis.

5) Advances in Drug Delivery Nanosystems Using Graphene-Based Materials and Carbon Nanotubes.

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