Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanoparticles reboot blood flow in brain

24.08.2012
Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine discovery might aid emergency care of traumatic brain-injury victims
A nanoparticle developed at Rice University and tested in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) may bring great benefits to the emergency treatment of brain-injury victims, even those with mild injuries.

Combined polyethylene glycol-hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCC), already being tested to enhance cancer treatment, are also adept antioxidants. In animal studies, injections of PEG-HCC during initial treatment after an injury helped restore balance to the brain’s vascular system.

The results were reported this month in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

A PEG-HCC infusion that quickly stabilizes blood flow in the brain would be a significant advance for emergency care workers and battlefield medics, said Rice chemist and co-author James Tour.

“This might be a first line of defense against reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are always overstimulated during a medical trauma, whether that be to an accident victim or an injured soldier,” said Tour, Rice’s T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science. “They’re certainly exacerbated when there’s trauma with massive blood loss.”

In a traumatic brain injury, cells release an excessive amount of an ROS known as superoxide (SO) into the blood. Superoxides are toxic free radicals, molecules with one unpaired electron, that the immune system normally uses to kill invading microorganisms. Healthy organisms balance SO with superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that neutralizes it. But even mild brain trauma can release superoxides at levels that overwhelm the brain’s natural defenses.

“Superoxide is the most deleterious of the reactive oxygen species, as it’s the progenitor of many of the others,” Tour said. “If you don’t deal with SO, it forms peroxynitrite and hydrogen peroxide. SO is the upstream precursor to many of the downstream problems.”

SO affects the autoregulatory mechanism that manages the sensitive circulation system in the brain. Normally, vessels dilate when blood pressure is low and constrict when high to maintain an equilibrium, but a lack of regulation can lead to brain damage beyond what may have been caused by the initial trauma.

“There are many facets of brain injury that ultimately determine how much damage there will be,” said Thomas Kent, the paper’s co-author, a BCM professor of neurology and chief of neurology at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston. “One is the initial injury, and that’s pretty much done in minutes. But a number of things that happen later often make things worse, and that’s when we can intervene.”

Kent cited as an example the second burst of free radicals that can occur after post-injury resuscitation. “That’s what we can treat: the further injury that happens because of the necessity of restoring somebody’s blood pressure, which provides oxygen that leads to more damaging free radicals.”

In tests, the researchers found PEG-HCC nanoparticles immediately and completely quenched superoxide activity and allowed the autoregulatory system to quickly regain its balance. Tour said ROS molecules readily combine with PEG-HCCs, generating “an innocuous carbon double bond, so it’s really radical annihilation. There’s no such mechanism in biology.” While an SOD enzyme can alter only one superoxide molecule at a time, a single PEG-HCC about the size of a large protein at 2-3 nanometers wide and 30-40 nanometers long can quench hundreds or thousands. “This is an occasion where a nano-sized package is doing something that no small drug or protein could do, underscoring the efficacy of active nano-based drugs.”

“This is the most remarkably effective thing I’ve ever seen,” Kent said. “Literally within minutes of injecting it, the cerebral blood flow is back to normal, and we can keep it there with just a simple second injection. In the end, we’ve normalized the free radicals while preserving nitric oxide (which is essential to autoregulation). These particles showed the antioxidant mechanism we had previously identified as predictive of effectiveness.”

The first clues to PEG-HCC’s antioxidant powers came during nanoparticle toxicity studies with the MD Anderson Cancer Center. “We noticed they lowered alkaline phosphatase in the liver,” Tour said. “One of our Baylor colleagues saw this and said, ‘Hey, this looks like it’s actually causing the liver cells to live longer than normal.’

“Oxidative destruction of liver cells is normal, so that got us to thinking these might be really good radical scavengers,” Tour said.

Kent said the nanoparticles as tested showed no signs of toxicity, but any remaining concerns should be answered by further tests. The researchers found the half-life of PEG-HCCs in the blood – the amount of time it takes for half the particles to leave the body – to be between two and three hours. Tests with different cell types in vitro showed no toxicity, he said.

The research has implications for stroke victims and organ transplant patients as well, Tour said.

Next, the team hopes to have another lab replicate its positive results. “We’ve repeated it now three times, and we got the same results, so we’re sure this works in our hands,” Kent said.

First authors of the paper are BCM graduate student Brittany Bitner, Rice graduate student Daniela Marcano and former Rice postdoctoral researcher Jacob Berlin, now an assistant professor of molecular medicine at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, Calif. Co-authors are all at BCM: Roderic Fabian, associate professor of neurology; Claudia Robertson, professor of neurosurgery; Leela Cherian, research instructor of neurosurgery; Mary Dickinson, associate professor of molecular physiology; Robia Pautler, associate professor of molecular physiology; and James Culver, a graduate student in molecular physiology.

The research was funded by the Department of Defense’s Mission Connect Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Consortium, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Read the abstract at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn302615f

David Ruth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>