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Cold atmospheric plasma and silymarin nanoemulsion synergistically inhibits human melanoma tumorigenesis via targeting HGF/c-MET downstream pathway

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  • Manish Adhikari
  • Neha Kaushik
  • Bhagirath Ghimire
  • Bhawana Adhikari
  • Sanjula Baboota
  • Abdulazia A. Al-Khedhairy
  • Rizwan Wahab
  • Su-Jae Lee
  • Nagendra Kumar Kaushik
  • Eun Ha Choi
Article number52
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>24/05/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Cell Communication and Signalling
Number of pages14
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background Recent studies claimed the important role of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) with nanotechnology in cancer treatments. In this study, silymarin nanoemulsion (SN) was used along with air CAP as therapeutic agent to counter human melanoma. Methods In this study, we examined the combined treatment of CAP and SN on G-361 human melanoma cells by evaluating cellular toxicity levels, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) levels, DNA damage, melanoma-specific markers, apoptosis, caspases and poly ADP-ribose polymerase-1 (PARP-1) levels using flow cytometer. Dual-treatment effects on the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF/c-MET) pathway, sphere formation and the reversal of EMT were also assessed using western blotting and microscopy respectively. SN and plasma-activated medium (PAM) were applied on tumor growth and body weight and melanoma-specific markers and the mesenchymal markers in the tumor xenograft nude mice model were checked. Results Co-treatment of SN and air CAP increased the cellular toxicity in a time-dependent manner and shows maximum toxicity at 200 nM in 24 h. Intracellular RONS showed significant generation of ROS (< 3 times) and RNS (< 2.5 times) in dual-treated samples compared to control. DNA damage studies were assessed by estimating the level of γ-H2AX (1.8 times), PD-1 (> 2 times) and DNMT and showed damage in G-361 cells. Increase in Caspase 8,9,3/7 (> 1.5 times), PARP level (2.5 times) and apoptotic genes level were also observed in dual treated group and hence blocking HGF/c-MET pathway. Decrease in EMT markers (E-cadherin, YKL-40, N-cadherin, SNAI1) were seen with simultaneously decline in melanoma cells (BRAF, NAMPT) and stem cells (CD133, ABCB5) markers. In vivo results showed significant reduction in SN with PAM with reduction in tumor weight and size. Conclusions The use of air CAP using μ-DBD and the SN can minimize the malignancy effects of melanoma cells by describing HGF/c-MET molecular mechanism of acting on G-361 human melanoma cells and in mice xenografts, possibly leading to suitable targets for innovative anti-melanoma approaches in the future.