In industrialized countries, a particularly high number of people suffer from arteriosclerosis – with fatal consequences: Deposits in the arteries lead to strokes and heart attacks. A team of researchers under the leadership of the University of Bonn has now developed a method for guiding replacement cells to diseased vascular segments using nanoparticles. The scientists demonstrated in mice that the fresh cells actually exert their curative effect in these segments. However, much research remains to be done prior to use in humans. The results are now being published in the renowned journal "ACS NANO."
In arterial calcification (arteriosclerosis), pathological deposits form in the arteries and this leads to vascular stenosis. Strokes and heart attacks are a frequent outcome due to the resultant insufficient blood flow.
Fluorescence-labeled cells with nanoparticles
Photo: Dr. Sarah Rieck/Dr. Sarah Vosen/University of Bonn
Endothelial cells which line the blood vessels play an important role here. "They produce nitric oxide and also regulate the expansion of the vessels and the blood pressure," explains junior professor Dr. med. Daniela Wenzel from the Institute of Physiology I of the University of Bonn. Damage to the endothelial cells is generally the insidious onset of arteriosclerosis.
A team of researchers working with Jun.-Prof. Wenzel, together with the Technische Universität München, the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn Hospital and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Berlin, developed a method with which damaged endothelial cells can regenerate and which they successfully tested in mice.
The scientists transferred the gene for the enzyme eNOS into cultured cells with the aid of viruses. This enzyme stimulates nitic oxide production in the endothelium like a turboloader. "The enzyme is an essential precondition for the full restoration of the original function of the endothelial cells," reports Dr. Sarah Vosen from Jun.-Prof. Wenzel's team.
A magnet delivers the nanoparticles to the desired site
Together with the gene, the scientists also introduced tiny nanoparticles, measuring a few hundred nanometers (one-millionth of a millimeter), with an iron core. "The iron changes the properties of the endothelial cells: They become magnetic," explains Dr. Sarah Rieck from the Institute of Physiology I of the University of Bonn.
The nanoparticles ensure that the endothelial cells equipped with the "turbo" gene can be delivered to the desired site in the blood vessel using a magnet where they exert their curative effect. Researchers at the Technische Universität München have developed a special ring-shaped magnet configuration for this which ensures that the replacement cells equipped with nanoparticles line the blood vessel evenly.
The researchers tested this combination method in mice whose carotid artery endothelial cells were injured. They injected the replacement cells into the artery and were able to position them at the correct site using the magnet.
"After half an hour, the endothelial cells adhered so securely to the vascular wall that they could no longer be flushed away by the bloodstream," says Jun.-Prof. Wenzel. The scientists then removed the magnets and tested whether the fresh cells had fully regained their function. As desired, the new endothelial cells produced nitric oxide and thus expanded the vessel, as is usual in the case of healthy arteries. "The mouse woke up from the anesthesia and ate and drank normally," reported the physiologist.
Transfer to humans requires additional research
Normally, doctors surgically remove vascular deposits from the carotid artery and in some cases place a vascular support (stent) to correct the bottleneck in the crucial blood supply. "However, these areas frequently become blocked with deposits once again," reports Jun.-Prof. Wenzel.
"In contrast, we are getting to the root of the problem and are restoring the original condition of healthy endothelial cells." The researchers hope that what works in mice is also possible in humans, in principle. However, there are still many challenges to overcome. Jun.-Prof. Wenzel: "There is still a considerable need for research."
The study was supported by funding to the junior research group “Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) - endothelial cell replacement in injured vessels” by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and to the DFG Research Unit FOR 917 “Nanoguide”.
Publication: Vascular repair by circumferential cell therapy using magnetic nanoparticles and tailored magnets, journal "ACS NANO", DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b04996
Detailed image caption: On the left are fluorescence-labeled cells with nanoparticles: The cellular nuclei are shown in blue, the fluorescence labeling is shown in green and the nanoparticles in the cells are identified by arrows. The middle photo shows a blood vessel populated with these cells (green). On the right is a detailed image of a vascular wall with the eNOS protein identified (red). © Photo: Dr. Sarah Rieck/Dr. Sarah Vosen/University of Bonn
Media contact information:
Junior professor Dr. med. Daniela Wenzel
Institute of Physiology I
University of Bonn
Dr. Andreas Archut | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Staphylococcus aureus: A new mechanism involved in virulence and antibiotic resistance
23.03.2018 | Institut Pasteur
Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy