Research Highlight

Squid nanoparticles used to fight liver cancer

doi:10.1038/nindia.2017.55 Published online 25 May 2017

Chitosan nanoparticles prepared from the cartlilage of a marine squid can protect rats against liver cancer, a new study reveals1. These could potentially be used for treating liver cancer in humans.

In search of a safe therapy for liver cancer, scientists from the Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu,synthesized chitosan nanoparticles from the internal ‘bone’ of a marine squid. They then injected male rats with N-diethylnitrosoamine, a carcinogen which causes liver tumours.The carcinogen exposure increased the levels of specific marker enzymes in the liver and serum of the rats.

Treating the rats with the nanoparticles before and after exposure to the carcinogen reduced the levels of the marker enzymes. Exposure to the carcinogen significantly reduced the levels of albumin and serum bilirubin, but the nanoparticles reversed this.

Nanoparticles also increased the levels of antioxidant enzymes that protected liver cells in carcinogen-exposed rats. They also increased good cholesterol levels.

Exposure to the carcinogen triggered lipid peroxidation, a harmful biochemical process that kills liver cells, but that process was slowed by the nanoparticles.


1. Subhaprada, N. et al.Chitosan nanoparticles from marine squid protect liver cells against N-diethylnitrosoamine-induced hepatocellular carcinoma. Carbohydr. Polymer. 171, 18-26 (2017)