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It is demonstrated that carbon quantum dots derived from curcumin (Cur-CQDs) through one-step dry heating are effective antiviral agents against enterovirus 71 (EV71). The surface properties of Cur-CQDs, as well as their antiviral activity, are highly dependent on the heating temperature during synthesis. The one-step heating of curcumin at 180 °C preserves many of the moieties of polymeric curcumin on the surfaces of the as-synthesized Cur-CQDs, resulting in superior antiviral characteristics. It is proposed that curcumin undergoes a series of structural changes through dehydration, polymerization, and carbonization to form core-shell CQDs whose surfaces remain a pyrolytic curcumin-like polymer, boosting the antiviral activity. The results reveal that curcumin possesses insignificant inhibitory activity against EV71 infection in RD cells [half-maximal effective concentration (EC ) >200 µg mL ] but exhibits high cytotoxicity toward RD cells (half-maximal cytotoxic concentration (CC ) <13 µg mL ). The EC (0.2 µg mL ) and CC (452.2 µg mL ) of Cur-CQDs are >1000-fold lower and >34-fold higher, respectively, than those of curcumin, demonstrating their far superior antiviral capabilities and high biocompatibility. In vivo, intraperitoneal administration of Cur-CQDs significantly decreases mortality and provides protection against virus-induced hind-limb paralysis in new-born mice challenged with a lethal dose of EV71.
PMID: 31468672 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]