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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 687037, 13 pages
Research Article

Mitogenic Effects of Phosphatidylcholine Nanoparticles on MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells

1Instituto de Química y Fisicoquímica Biológicas (UBA-CONICET), Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Junín 956, 1113 Buenos Aires, Argentina
2Departamento de Tecnología Farmacéutica, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Junín 956, 1113 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Received 20 December 2013; Revised 14 February 2014; Accepted 14 February 2014; Published 20 March 2014

Academic Editor: Leandro Rocha

Copyright © 2014 Yamila B. Gándola et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lecithins, mainly composed of the phospholipids phosphatidylcholines (PC), have many different uses in the pharmaceutical and clinical field. PC are involved in structural and biological functions as membrane trafficking processes and cellular signaling. Considering the increasing applications of lecithin-based nanosystems for the delivery of therapeutic agents, the aim of the present work was to determine the effects of phosphatidylcholine nanoparticles over breast cancer cellular proliferation and signaling. PC dispersions at 0.01 and 0.1% (w/v) prepared in buffer pH 7.0 and 5.0 were studied in the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. Neutral 0.1% PC-derived nanoparticles induced the activation of the MEK-ERK1/2 pathway, increased cell viability and induced a 1.2 fold raise in proliferation. These biological effects correlated with the increase of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) content and its altered cellular localization. Results suggest that nanoparticles derived from PC dispersion prepared in buffer pH 7.0 may induce physicochemical changes in the plasma membrane of cancer cells which may affect EGFR cellular localization and/or activity, increasing activation of the MEK-ERK1/2 pathway and inducing proliferation. Results from the present study suggest that possible biological effects of delivery systems based on lecithin nanoparticles should be taken into account in pharmaceutical formulation design.