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Ion homeostasis distortion through exogenous overload or underload of intracellular ion species has become an arresting therapeutic approach against malignant tumor. Nevertheless, treatment outcomes of such ion interference are always compromised by the intrinsic ion homeostasis maintenance systems in cancer cells. Herein, an ion homeostasis perturbator (CTC) is facilely designed by co-encapsulation of carvacrol (CAR) and meso-tetra-(4-carboxyphenyl)porphine (TCPP) into pH-sensitive nano-CaCO3, aiming to disrupt the self-defense mechanism during the process of ion imbalance. Upon the endocytosis of CTC into tumor cells, lysosomal acidity can render the decomposition of CaCO3, resulting in the instant Ca2+ overload and CO2 generation in cytoplasm. Simultaneously, CaCO3 disintegration triggers the release of CAR and TCPP, which are devoted to TRPM7 inhibition and sonosensitization, respectively. The malfunction of TRPM7 can impede the influx of Mg2+ and allow unrestricted influx of Ca2+ based on the antagonism relationship between Mg2+ and Ca2+, leading to an aggravated Ca2+/Mg2+ dyshomeostasis through ion channel deactivation. In another aspect, US-triggered cavitation can be significantly enhanced by the presence of inert CO2 microbubbles, further amplifying the generation of reactive oxygen species. Such oxidative damage-augmented Ca2+/Mg2+ interference therapy effectively impairs the mitochondrial function of tumor, which may provide useful insights in cancer therapy. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Jiansen Huang, Jie He, Jie Wang, Yongcan Li, Zhigang Xu, Lei Zhang, Yuejun Kang, Peng Xue. Calcium carbonate-actuated ion homeostasis perturbator for oxidative damage-augmented Ca2+/Mg2+ interference therapy. Biomaterials. 2023 Nov;302:122340

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PMID: 37774552

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