Protein-olive oil-in-water nanoemulsions as encapsulation materials for curcumin acting as anticancer agent towards MDA-MB-231 cells


The sustainable cellular delivery of the pleiotropic drug curcumin encounters drawbacks related to its fast autoxidation at the physiological pH, cytotoxicity of delivery vehicles and poor cellular uptake. A biomaterial compatible with curcumin and with the appropriate structure to allow the correct curcumin encapsulation considering its poor solubility in water, while maintaining its stability for a safe release was developed. In this work, the biomaterial developed started by the preparation of an oil-in-water nanoemulsion using with a cytocompatible copolymer (Pluronic F 127) coated with a positively charged protein (gelatin), designed as G-Cur-NE, to mitigate the cytotoxicity issue of curcumin. These G-Cur-NE showed excellent capacity to stabilize curcumin, to increase its bio-accessibility, while allowing to arrest its autoxidation during its successful application as an anticancer agent proved by the disintegration of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells as a proof of concept.



subject category

Multidisciplinary Sciences


Bharmoria, P; Bisht, M; Gomes, MC; Martins, M; Neves, MC; Mano, JF; Bdikin, I; Coutinho, JAP; Ventura, SPM

our authors


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020, financed by national funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology/MCTES. Marcia C. Neves acknowledges FCT, I.P. for the research contract CEECIND/00383/2017 under the CEEC Individual 2017. MCG and JFM acknowledge the funding from the European Research Council (ERC) for project ATLAS (ERC-2014-ADG-669858 Image acquisition was performed in the LiM facility of iBiMED, a node of PPBI (Portuguese Platform of BioImaging) with grant agreement number POCI-01-0145-FEDER-022122. Margarida Martins acknowledges FCT for her doctoral grant SFRH/BD/122220/2016.

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