Curcumin, the natural anticancer drug and its optimum potential is limited due to lack of solubility in aqueous solvent, degradation at alkaline pH and poor tissue absorption. In order to enhance its potency and improve bioavailability, we have synthesized curcumin loaded nanoparticulate delivery system. Unlike free curcumin, it is readily dispersed in aqueous medium, showing narrow size distribution "192 nm ranges (as observed by microscope) with biocompatibility (confocal studies and TNF-α assay). Furthermore, it displayed enhanced stability in phosphate buffer saline by protecting encapsulated curcumin against hydrolysis and biotransformation. Most importantly, nanoparticulate curcumin was comparatively more effective than native curcumin against different cancer cell lines under in vitro condition with time due to enhanced cellular uptake resulting in reduction of cell viability by inducing apoptosis. Molecular basis of apoptosis studied by western blotting revealed blockade of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) and its regulated gene expression through inhibition of IκB kinase and Akt activation. In mice, nanoparticulate curcumin was more bioavailable and had a longer half-life than native curcumin as revealed from pharmacokinetics study. Thus, the results demonstrated nanoparticulate curcumin may be useful as a potential anticancer drug for treatment of various malignant tumors. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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