Cytotoxic effects of Tetraselmis suecica chloroform extracts with silver nanoparticle co-application on MCF-7, 4 T1, and Vero cell lines

  • Hanaa Ali Hussein
  • Habsah Mohamad
  • Maziah Mohd Ghazaly
  • A. A. Laith
  • Mohd Azmuddin AbdullahEmail author


In the present study we evaluated the effects of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and Tetraselmis suecica chloroform (CHL) crude extracts as single and co-applications against MCF-7 and 4 T1 breast cancer cells and normal Vero cell-lines. The AgNPs single application exhibited the highest cytotoxicity in a dose-dependent manner with IC50 of 5.3, 17.78, and 25.11 μg mL−1 against MCF-7, 4 T1 and Vero cell lines, respectively, after 72 h treatments. The AgNPs-T. suecica-CHL co-application at 2:1 ratio achieved the IC50 of 6.60 and 53.7 μg mL−1 on MCF-7 and 4 T1 cells, respectively, while the T. suecica-CHL single application only showed the IC50 of 46.77 and 83.17 μg mL−1, respectively. However, both the T. suecica-CHL and AgNPs-T. suecica-CHL showed no cytotoxic activity against the Vero cells. The AgNPs-T. suecica-CHL exhibited the highest late apoptotic events on MCF-7 (38.8%), followed by Tamoxifen (TMX), AgNPs and T. suecica-CHL. The cell cycle analysis of AgNPs-T. suecica-CHL–treated cells showed a significant increase in the accumulation of events at sub-G1 phase with increased ADP/ATP ratio and Caspase 3/7, suggesting the induction of apoptosis. The results brought new insights into the formulation of microalgal crude extracts (MCEs) and AgNPs co-applications in exerting strong cytotoxic effects on MCF-7 and 4 T1 cancer cells, but without having any cytotoxicity on the normal Vero cell-lines.


Microalgae Natural product Chlorophyta Tetraselmis suecica Silver nanoparticles Co-application Anti-cancer agent 



The authors thank the Science Officers in the Institute of Marine Biotechnology, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu for their assistance with the facilities for the experiments, and Mr. Syed Ahmad Tajudin and Mr. Haziq Hamid from the Laboratory of Animal Cell Culture in Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Tembila Campus, Besut, Terengganu, for their assistance in flow cytometric analyses.

Funding information

This research was funded by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS/1/2015/SG05/UMT/02/4) under the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10811_2019_1905_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Table S1 Preparation of AgNPs-T. suecica-CHL ratio (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Marine BiotechnologyUniversiti Malaysia TerengganuKuala NerusMalaysia
  2. 2.College of DentistryUniversity of BasrahBasrahIraq
  3. 3.School of Fundamental ScienceUniversiti Malaysia TerengganuKuala NerusMalaysia
  4. 4.School of Fisheries and Aquaculture SciencesUniversiti Malaysia TerengganuKuala NerusMalaysia

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