Gold-coated iron oxide nanoparticles trigger apoptosis in the process of thermo-radiotherapy of U87-MG human glioma cells

Ali Neshastehriz, Zohreh Khosravi, Habib Ghaznavi, Ali Shakeri-Zadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Recently, gold-coated iron oxide nanoparticles (Au@IONPs) have received a great deal of attention in cancer therapy. In this in vitro study we aimed to investigate the anti-cancer effects of Au@IONPs core–shell nanoparticles when applied in thermo-radiotherapy. Moreover, we investigated the level of apoptosis induced in U87-MG human glioma cells after receiving a combinatorial treatment regimen (Au@IONPs + hyperthermia + radiotherapy). Firstly, the Au@IONPs nanocomplex was prepared and characterized. Cytotoxicity of the nanoparticles (various concentrations; 4 h incubation time) was investigated on U87-MG cells and finally the concentrations of 10 and 15 µg/mL were selected for further studies. After incubation of the cells with nanoparticles, they received hyperthermia (43 °C; 1 h) and then were immediately exposed to 6 MV X-ray (2 and 4 Gy). Following the treatments, MTT assay was used to analyze cell viability and flow cytometry was used to determine the level of apoptosis in each treatment group. The results revealed that nanoparticles have no significant cytotoxicity at concentrations lower than 10 µg/mL. Also, we observed that nanoparticles are able to enhance the cytotoxic effect of hyperthermia and radiation. The major mode of cell death was apoptosis when nanoparticles, hyperthermia and radiation were concomitantly applied to cancer cells. In conclusion, Au@IONP nanoparticle can be considered as a good thermo-radio-sensitizer which triggers significant levels of apoptosis in cancer therapy. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] In this in vitro study, we report the anti-cancer effects of gold-coated iron oxide nanoparticles (Au@IONPs) when applied in thermo-radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-418
Number of pages14
JournalRadiation and Environmental Biophysics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer
  • Core–shell nanoparticles
  • Hyperthermia
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiation
  • General Environmental Science

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