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Hydrothermal synthesis of titanium dioxide nanoparticles: mosquitocidal potential and anticancer activity on human breast cancer cells (MCF-7)


Mosquito vectors (Diptera: Culicidae) are responsible for transmission of serious diseases worldwide. Mosquito control is being enhanced in many areas, but there are significant challenges, including increasing resistance to insecticides and lack of alternative, cost-effective, and eco-friendly products. To deal with these crucial issues, recent emphasis has been placed on plant materials with mosquitocidal properties. Furthermore, cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012. It is expected that annual cancer cases will rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million within the next two decades. Nanotechnology is a promising field of research and is expected to give major innovation impulses in a variety of industrial sectors. In this study, we synthesized titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles using the hydrothermal method. Nanoparticles were subjected to different analysis including UV–Vis spectrophotometry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), zeta potential, and energy-dispersive spectrometric (EDX). The synthesized TiO2 nanoparticles exhibited dose-dependent cytotoxicity against human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) and normal breast epithelial cells (HBL-100). After 24-h incubation, the inhibitory concentrations (IC50) were found to be 60 and 80 μg/mL on MCF-7 and normal HBL-100 cells, respectively. Induction of apoptosis was evidenced by Acridine Orange (AO)/ethidium bromide (EtBr) and 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI) staining. In larvicidal and pupicidal experiments conducted against the primary dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti, LC50 values of nanoparticles were 4.02 ppm (larva I), 4.962 ppm (larva II), 5.671 ppm (larva III), 6.485 ppm (larva IV), and 7.527 ppm (pupa). Overall, our results suggested that TiO2 nanoparticles may be considered as a safe tool to build newer and safer mosquitocides and chemotherapeutic agents with little systemic toxicity.

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The authors would like to thank the financial support rendered by King Saud University, through the Vice Deanship of Research Chairs.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Benelli.

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All applicable international and national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. G. Benelli is an Editorial Board Member of Parasitology Research. This does not alter the authors’ adherence to all the Parasitology Research policies on sharing data and materials.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Murugan, K., Dinesh, D., Kavithaa, K. et al. Hydrothermal synthesis of titanium dioxide nanoparticles: mosquitocidal potential and anticancer activity on human breast cancer cells (MCF-7). Parasitol Res 115, 1085–1096 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-015-4838-8

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  • Apoptosis
  • Antibacterial activity
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cytotoxicity
  • DAPI
  • MCF-7 cells
  • TiO2
  • Western blot