Nanoparticles found near plaque-filled arteries

Scientific evidence increasingly links arterial calcification to the presence of nanosized particles so small that some scientists question whether a nanoparticle can live and, if so, play a viable role in causing disease.

A new Mayo Clinic study cites evidence showing the presence of nanoparticles near plaque-filled arteries in animal models. The study suggests that nanoparticles potentially represent a previously unrecognized factor in the development of arteriosclerosis and calcific arterial disease. The study will be presented during the 2007 Experimental Biology meeting in Washington, D.C., on April 29.

Calcium deposits clog blood vessels and damage major organs, such as the heart. But the molecular mechanisms that kick-start this process, called pathologic calcification, haven't been explained.

The study's author, Maria Kraemer, a Mayo Graduate School student in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues isolated and propagated self-replicating, self-calcifying nanoparticles from human arteriosclerotic aneurysms and kidney stones.

“The work we are doing with human-derived nanoparticles is important because preliminary studies indicate that they may increase negative responses to arterial injury, possibly leading to blocked arteries and arterial calcification,” Kraemer says.

Researchers tested their hypothesis by inoculating animal models with nanoparticles from human calcified tissues. A second group of models received a diluted inoculation. Blocked arteries were apparent in some animals in both groups 35 days after receiving the dosage.

This study was funded by Nanobac Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Mayo Clinic.

Experimental Biology is an annual scientific meeting convened by the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology, including the American Association of Anatomists; American Physiological Society; American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; American Society for Investigative Pathology; American Society for Nutrition; and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

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