Background: Gold nanoparticles have recently been investigated with respect to biocompatibility accordingto their interactions with cells. The purpose of this study was to examine cytotoxicity and apoptosis induction bywell-characterized gold nanoparticles in human breast epithelial MCF-7 cells.
Methods: Apoptosis was assessedby TUNEL, cytotoxicity by MTT assay and caspase 3, 9, p53, Bax and Bcl expression by real-time PCR assays.
Results: Gold nanoparticles at up to 200 μg/mL for 24 hours exerted concentration-dependent cytotoxicity andsignificant upregulation of mRNA expression of p53, bax, caspase-3 & caspase-9, whereas expression of antiapoptoticbcl-2 was down-regulated.
Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge this is the first report showingthat gold nanoparticles induce apoptosis in MCF-7cells via p53, bax/bcl-2 and caspase pathways.