Indexed on: 19 Jul '13Published on: 19 Jul '13Published in: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Cellular evaluation of zein nanoparticles has not been studied systematically due to their poor redispersibility. Caseinate (CAS)-stabilized zein nanoparticles have been recently developed with better redispersibility in salt solutions. In this study, zein-CAS nanoparticles were prepared with different zein/CAS mass ratios. The prepared nanoparticles demonstrated good stabilities to maintain particle size (120-140 nm) in cell culture medium and HBSS buffer at 37 °C. The nanoparticles showed no cytotoxicity for Caco-2 cells for 72 h. CAS not only significantly enhanced cell uptake of zein nanoparticles in a concentration- and time-dependent manner but also remarkably improved epithelial transport through Caco-2 cell monolayer. The cell uptake of zein-CAS nanoparticles indicated an energy-dependent endocytosis process as evidenced by cell uptake under blocking conditions, that is, 4 °C, sodium azide, and colchicine. Fluorescent microscopy clearly showed the internalization of zein-CAS nanoparticles. This study may shed some light on the cellular evaluations of hydrophobic protein nanoparticles.