Reihaneh Haghniaz 1,2†, Atiya Rabbani 3†, Fereshteh Vajhadin 1,4, Taous Khan 5, Rozina Kousar 6, Abdul Rehman Khan 3, Hossein Montazerian 1, Javed Iqbal 7, Alberto Libanori 1, Han‑Jun Kim 8* and Fazli Wahid 9*
1Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
2California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
3Department of Biotechnology, COMSATS University Islamabad, Islamabad 45550, Pakistan.
4Department of Chemistry, Yazd University, 89195‑741 Yazd, Iran.
5Department of Pharmacy, COMSATS University Islamabad, Islamabad 45550, Pakistan.
6Department of Pharmacy, Women Institute of Learning, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan.
7Department of Botany, Bacha Khan University, Charsadda 24420, Pakistan.
8Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation, Los Angeles, CA 90064, USA.
9Department of Biomedical Sciences, Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology, Haripur 22620, Pakistan.
*Corresponding author: correspondence to Han‑Jun Kim or Fazli Wahid
†Reihaneh Haghniaz and Atiya Rabbani contributed equally to this work
Background: Increasing antibiotic resistance continues to focus on research into the discovery of novel antimicrobial agents. Due to its antimicrobial and wound healing-promoting activity, metal nanoparticles have attracted attention for dermatological applications. This study is designed to investigate the scope and bactericidal potential of zinc ferrite nanoparticles (ZnFe2O4 NPs), and the mechanism of anti-bacterial action along with cytocompatibility, hemocompatibility, and wound healing properties.
Results: ZnFe2O4 NPs were synthesized via a modified co-precipitation method. Structure, size, morphology, and elemental compositions of ZnFe2O4 NPs were analyzed using X-ray diffraction pattern, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and field emission scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. In PrestoBlue and live/dead assays, ZnFe2O4 NPs exhibited dose-dependent cytotoxic effects on human dermal fibroblasts. In addition, the hemocompatibility assay revealed that the NPs do not significantly rupture red blood cells up to a dose of 1000 µg/mL. Bacterial live/dead imaging and zone of inhibition analysis demonstrated that ZnFe2O4 NPs showed dose-dependent bactericidal activities in various strains of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Interestingly, NPs showed antimicrobial activity through multiple mechanisms, such as cell membrane damage, protein leakage, and reactive oxygen species generation, and were more effective against gram-positive bacteria. Furthermore, in vitro scratch assay revealed that ZnFe2O4 NPs improved cell migration and proliferation of cells, with noticeable shrinkage of the artificial wound model.
Conclusions: This study indicated that ZnFe2O4 NPs have the potential to be used as a future antimicrobial and wound healing drug.