J Nanobiotechnology. 2023 Jan 4;21(1):6. doi: 10.1186/s12951-022-01755-5.
While several artificial nanodrugs have been approved for clinical treatment of breast tumor, their long-term applications are restricted by unsatisfactory therapeutic outcomes, side reactions and high costs. Conversely, edible plant-derived natural nanotherapeutics (NTs) are source-widespread and cost-effective, which have been shown remarkably effective in disease treatment. Herein, we extracted and purified exosome-like NTs from tea leaves (TLNTs), which had an average diameter of 166.9 nm and a negative-charged surface of – 28.8 mV. These TLNTs contained an adequate slew of functional components such as lipids, proteins and pharmacologically active molecules. In vitro studies indicated that TLNTs were effectively internalized by breast tumor cells (4T1 cells) and caused a 2.5-fold increase in the amount of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) after incubation for 8 h. The high levels of ROS triggered mitochondrial damages and arrested cell cycles, resulting in the apoptosis of tumor cells. The mouse experiments revealed that TLNTs achieved good therapeutic effects against breast tumors regardless of intravenous injection and oral administration through direct pro-apoptosis and microbiota modulation. Strikingly, the intravenous injection of TLNTs, not oral administration, yielded obvious hepatorenal toxicity and immune activation. These findings collectively demonstrate that TLNTs can be developed as a promising oral therapeutic platform for the treatment of breast cancer.