Blood Brothers: Particles Form Strong Bonds in Blood Vessels
Functionalized nano- and microscale particle systems have become a key component
in biomedical applications, from drug delivery to prosthetics. Their small size
and potential for modification and functionalization make them ideal for performing
specific tasks within the human body.
In their latest work, reported in the materials science journal Advanced Materials,
Professor Joerg Lahann and his team at the University of Michigan utilize this
system to synthesize dual-compartment, biologically compatible polymer particles
with the ability to selectively self-associate with human endothelial cells,
found in the lining of blood vessels. When the particles were incubated with
these cells, they displayed a strongly specific binding pattern—one hemisphere
exhibited strong affinity to the cell surface, while the other had almost none.
The explanation? One of the compartments had been modified with the protein
streptavidin, which interacts strongly within biological systems. This selective
functionalization resulted in spatial control at the cellular level; as only
one side of each particle was attracted to the cells, they formed into layers,
just one particle thick, on the cell surface.
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