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Synthesis and Characterization of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles of Solanum nigrum and Its Anticancer Activity via the Induction of Apoptosis in Cervical Cancer


Effective cancer therapy can be achieved by using nano-drug delivery systems which provide a targeted drug delivery strategy by overcoming the drawbacks of conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. ZnO nanoparticles are a potent anticancer agent that causes tumor cell destruction with the targeted drug delivery. In this present study, green synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles has been done using the plant Solanum nigrum. The synthesized ZnO nanoparticles were studied by the characterization techniques like UV–visible spectroscopy, SEM, TEM, DLS, zeta potential, FTIR, and XRD. The synthesized ZnO nanoparticles of Solanum nigrum exhibited a significant anticancer activity against HeLa cell lines through the apoptotic pathway. The cytotoxicity of ZnO nanoparticles was assessed using MTT assay, wound healing assay, DAPI staining, and acridine orange and ethidium bromide double staining. The expression patterns of β-catenin, p53, caspase-3, and caspase-9 were analyzed using reverse transcriptase-PCR. The results obtained from the study indicate that the ZnO nanoparticles of Solanum nigrum possess a dose-dependent cytotoxic effect against HeLa cell lines through the inhibition of β-catenin and increasing the levels of p53, caspase-3, and caspase-9.

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Availability of Data and Materials

Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.


S. nigrum :

Solanum nigrum


Zinc oxide


Methanolic extract of Solanum nigrum


Zinc oxide nanoparticles of Solanum nigrum




Scanning electron microscopy


Energy dispersive X-ray


Transmission electron microscopy


Dynamic light scattering


Fourier transform infrared spectrometer


X-ray diffraction


Reverse transcriptase-PCR


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Myself and my co-authors would like to express our sincere gratitude toward Dr. K.M. Saradhadevi, Assistant Professor of the Department of Biochemistry for her constant moral support and guidance throughout this research work.

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Authors and Affiliations



Steffy Thomas: drafting the article and submitting the final version of the article.

Gayathiri Gunasangkaran: drafting the article and submitting the final version of the article.

Vijaya Anand Arumugam: co-author who assisted the corresponding author and first author in writing the article.

Saradhadevi Muthukrishnan: corresponding author who made sustainable contribution for the intellectual input and designing the whole paper.

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Correspondence to Saradhadevi Muthukrishnan.

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• MESn was used for the synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles.

• Biosynthesized ZnONPSn was characterized using UV–visible spectroscopy, SEM, TEM, DLS, zeta potential, FTIR, and XRD analysis.

• The cytotoxicity of ZnONPSn on HeLa cell lines was determined using MTT assay, wound healing assay, and DAPI and double staining.

• The ZnONPSn showed a significant increase in the level of apoptotic genes p53, caspase-3, and caspase-9 and shows a significant decrease in the level of β-catenin in HeLa cell lines.

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Thomas, S., Gunasangkaran, G., Arumugam, V.A. et al. Synthesis and Characterization of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles of Solanum nigrum and Its Anticancer Activity via the Induction of Apoptosis in Cervical Cancer. Biol Trace Elem Res 200, 2684–2697 (2022).

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  • Cervical cancer
  • Apoptosis
  • Zinc oxide nanoparticles
  • Solanum nigrum
  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • X-ray diffraction