Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanowire biocompatibility in the brain: so far so good

22.10.2009
The biological safety of nanotechnology, in other words, how the body reacts to nanoparticles, is a hot topic. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have managed for the first time to carry out successful experiments involving the injection of so-called 'nanowires.'

In the future it is expected that it will be possible to insert nanoscale electrodes to study learning and memory functions and to treat patients suffering from chronic pain, depression, and diseases such as Parkinson's. But it is not known what would happen if the nanoelectrodes would break away from their contact points.

Scientists at Lund University have investigated this 'worst case by injecting nanowires in rat brains. The nanowires resemble in size and shape the registration nodes of electrodes of the future. The results show that the brain 'clean-up cells' (microglia), take care of the wires. After twelve weeks only minor differences were observed between the brains of the test group and the control group. The findings are published in Nano Letters.

"The results indicate that this is a feasible avenue to pursue in the future. Now we have a better base on which to develop more advanced and more useful electrodes than those we have today," explains Christelle Prinz, a scientist in Solid State Physics at the Faculty of Engineering (LTH), who, together with Cecilia Eriksson Linsmeier at the Faculty of Medicine, is the lead author of the article 'Nanowire biocompatibility in the brain - Looking for a needle in a 3D stack.'

Electrodes are already used today to counteract symptoms of Parkinson's disease, for instance. Future nanotechnology may enable refined and enhanced treatment and pave the way for entirely new applications.

One advantage of nanoscale electrodes is that they can register and stimulate the tiniest components of the brain. To study the biological safety - the biocompatibility - of these electrodes, the scientists first produced nanowires that were then mixed into a fluid that was injected into the rat brains. An equal number of rats were given the solution without the nanowires. After 1, 6, and 12 weeks, respectively, the researchers looked at how the rat brains were reacting to the nanowires.

The research project is run by the university's interdisciplinary Neuronano Research Center (NRC), coordinated by Jens Schouenborg at the Faculty of Medicine and funded by a Linnaeus grant and the Wallenberg Foundation, among others. The work has involved scientists from the Faculty of Medicine and from the Nanometer Consortium, directed by Lars Samuelson, LTH.

"We studied two of the brain tissue's support cells: on the one hand, microglia cells, whose job is to 'tidy up' junk and infectious compounds in the brain and, on the other hand, astrocytes, who contribute to the brain's healing process. The microglia 'ate' most of the nanowires. In weeks 6 and 12 we could see remains of them in the microglia cells," says Nils Danielsen, a researcher with the NRC.

The number of nerve cells remained constant for test and control groups, which is a positive sign. The greatest difference between the test and control groups was that the former had a greater astrocyte reaction at one week, but this level eventually declined. At weeks 6 and 12 the scientists were not able to detect any difference at all.

"Together with other findings and given that the number of microglial cells decreased over time, the results indicate that the brain was not damaged or chronically injured by the nanowires," Christelle Prinz concludes.

Authors: Cecilia Linsmeier Eriksson, Christelle N. Prinz, Lina ME Pettersson, Philippe Caroff, Lars Samuelson, Jens Schouenborg, Lars Montelius, Nils Danielsen.

For more information, please contact:
Christelle Prinz phone: +46-46 222 47 96, christelle.prinz@ftf.lth.se; cell phone: +46-768 75 23 15, or Nils Danielsen, phone: +46-46 222 03 00; cell phone: +46-070 548 09 09 nils.danielsen@med.lu.se

Pressofficer Kristina Lindgärde; +46-709753 500; kristina.lindgarde@kansli.lth.se

Kristina Lindgärde | idw
Further information:
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl902413x
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>