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!
Water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) overcomes swallowing disorders and hypersalivation – a case report
10.08.2017 | Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften e.V.
New microscope technique reveals internal structure of live embryos
08.08.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
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16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research