MedZine highlights two examples of new application for vascular research this week. Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of myocardial infarction and stroke. On the nano level, researches are now detecting atherosclerotic plaques, while microchip technology is employed to learn more about the conditions in with nanomedicines accumulate in atherosclerosis.
Vascular medicine goes nano
Bruckman and colleagues have modified the tobacco mosaic virus to create nanoparticles that can be used to detect atherosclerotic plaques. The researchers targeted vascular cell adhesion molecule -1 (VCAM-1), which is expressed on the endothelial cells in the plaques. The results, published in Nano Letters, show that these particles can be used to visualize atherosclerotic plaques with a combination of magnetic resonance and fluorescent imaging. This is an improvement in the detection of these plaques, because until now only vessels that are already narrowed could be detected. Moreover, these nanoparticles could potentially be further adapted to discriminate vulnerable form stable plaques.
Microchip with endothelial cells
A new microfluidic chip can be used to determine the transvascular permeation of nanomedicines. This is shown by research from Kim and colleagues published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The chip serves as a model for the accumulation of nanoparticles in the arteries with plaques of patients with atherosclerosis and is coated with endothelial cells. The permeability can be adapted to mimic the permeable state of the endothelium at sites where plaques form. This allows the researchers to study the translocation of new medication, thereby testing the targeting potential of this medication in vitro before starting clinical evaluation.
Sources: Nano Letters and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences