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Ginsenoside compound K (GK) is a major metabolite of protopanaxadiol-type ginsenosides and has remarkable anticancer activities in vitro and in vivo. This work used an ionic cross-linking method to entrap GK within O-carboxymethyl chitosan (OCMC) nanoparticles (Nps) to form GK-loaded OCMC Nps (GK-OCMC Nps), which enhance the aqueous solubility and stability of GK. The GK-OCMC Nps were characterized using several physicochemical techniques, including x-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, zeta potential analysis, and particle size analysis via dynamic light scattering. GK was released from GK-OCMC Nps and was conducted using the dialysis bag diffusion method. The effects of GK and GK-OCMC Nps on PC3 cell viability were measured by using the 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2-H-tetrazolium bromide assay. Fluorescent technology based on Cy5.5-labeled probes was used to explore the cellular uptake of GK-OCMC Nps. The GK-OCMC NPs had a suitable particle size and zeta potential; they were spherical with good dispersion. In vitro drug release from GK-OCMC NPs was pH dependent. Moreover, the in vitro cytotoxicity study and cellular uptake assays indicated that the GK-OCMC Nps significantly enhanced the cytotoxicity and cellular uptake of GK toward the PC3 cells. GK-OCMC Nps also significantly promoted the activities of both caspase-3 and caspase-9. GK-OCMC Nps are potential nanocarriers for delivering hydrophobic drugs, thereby enhancing water solubility and permeability and improving the antiproliferative effects of GK. © 2020 The Korean Society of Ginseng. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V.


Jianmei Zhang, Jinyi Zhou, Qiaoyun Yuan, Changyi Zhan, Zhi Shang, Qian Gu, Ji Zhang, Guangbo Fu, Weicheng Hu. Characterization of ginsenoside compound K loaded ionically cross-linked carboxymethyl chitosan-calcium nanoparticles and its cytotoxic potential against prostate cancer cells. Journal of ginseng research. 2021 Mar;45(2):228-235

PMID: 33841003

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