Nano Research

Article Title

Selective cytotoxic effect of ZnO nanoparticles on glioma cells


ZnO nanoparticles, sonochemistry, cancer cells


In this study we examined the cytotoxic effect of ZnO nanoparticles on various human cancer and normal cells. We found that the ZnO nanoparticles exerted a cytotoxic effect on the human glioma cell lines A172, U87, LNZ308, LN18, and LN229, whereas no cytotoxic effect was observed on normal human astrocytes. Similarly, the ZnO nanoparticles induced cell death in breast and prostate cancer cell lines while no major effect was observed in the respective normal breast and prostate cell lines. Using the fl uorescent dye 2,7-dichlorofl uorescein diacetate, we found that treatment of the glioma cells with ZnO nanoparticles induced a large increase in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and treatment of the cells with N-acetyl cysteine decreased the cytotoxic effect of the ZnO nanoparticles. In contrast, a smaller effect on ROS generation was observed in the normal astrocytes. These results suggest that ZnO nanoparticles may be employed as a selective cytotoxic agent for the eradication of cancer cells.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press