The research team examined glycosaminogycans (GAGs), which are molecules that serve as the building blocks of cartilage and are involved in numerous vital functions in the human body. Mapping the GAG concentration in vivo, or in a living organism, is desirable for the diagnosis and monitoring of a number of diseases. It is also valuable in determining the efficacy of drug therapies. For instance, GAG loss in cartilage typically marks the onset of osteoarthritis and inter-vertebral disc degeneration.
However, the existing techniques for GAG monitoring—based on traditional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—have limitations: they cannot directly map GAG concentrations or they require the administration of contrast agents. The NYU-Tel Aviv research team sought a more direct measurement of GAGs. In this study, they employed the exchangeable protons of GAG to directly measure GAG concentration in vivo.
Knowing that GAG molecules have proton groups that are not tethered tightly, the researchers investigated whether proton exchange in GAGs could allow concentrations of the molecule to be measured by the MRI. By separating out the GAG protons from those of water, they can be used as a sort of inherent contrast agent. Testing the idea in tissue samples, the researchers found that the available GAG protons provided an effective type of contrast enhancement, allowing them to readily monitor GAGs through a clinical MRI scanner. The in vivo application of this method showed that this technique can be readily implemented in a clinical setting.
This chemical exchange saturation method (gagCEST) not only could provide a non-invasive way to diagnose osteoarthritis in its very early stages, but could also help to indicate early interventions for degenerative disc disease, which is responsible for lower back pain, and defects in heart valves and, potentially, the cornea.
James Devitt | EurekAlert!
3-D visualization of the pancreas -- new tool in diabetes research
15.03.2017 | Umea University
New PET radiotracer identifies inflammation in life-threatening atherosclerosis
02.03.2017 | Society of Nuclear Medicine
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy