By Will Soutter
Adah Almutairi and her colleagues from the University of California, San Diego, have created the first-of-its-kind biodegradable polymeric capsules or nanoparticles that demonstrate ultra-high sensitivity to low, but biologically significant levels of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is a reactive oxygen species (ROS) that gets accumulated when a tissue’s chemical balance is affected, thus causing oxidative stress and related toxic effects. Albeit certain ROS play a significant role in the body’s immune systems and cell signaling, they also serve as indicators of numerous illnesses, including cardiovascular dysfunction.
A non-invasive detection technique to measure low concentrations of ROS like hydrogen peroxide opens the door to detect inflammation, a characteristic of several illnesses, and to develop novel targeted drug delivery techniques. The study results have appeared in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
These nanoparticles are consumed by immune system cells such as neutrophils and macrophages that move to the inflammation site, where these polymeric capsules release their payload when they get degraded during their encounter with hydrogen peroxide generated by those cells.
Almutairi informed that this is the first illustration of a biocompatible way to react to inflammation and oxidative stress. She is planning to test this technique in an atherosclerosis model. A non-invasive technique is long sought after by cardiologists to identify patients who are susceptible to a heart attack due to broken plaque in the arteries prior to the attack. The newly developed technique is perhaps a safer method to determine and treat this illness as the plaques are inflamed.