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NIST study suggests carbon nanotubes may protect DNA from oxidation
Date:11/15/2012

technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to mix solutions, break open cells or process slurries. The process can break water molecules into highly reactive agents such as hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide that are similar to the oxidative chemicals that commonly threaten mammalian cell DNA, although the experimental levels from sonication are much greater than those found naturally within cells. "In our experiment, we were looking to see if the nanotubes enhanced or deterred oxidative damage to DNA," Petersen says.

Contrary to the expectation that carbon nanotubes will damage biomolecules they contact, the researchers found that overall levels of accumulated DNA damage were significantly reduced in the solutions with nanotubes present. "This suggests that the nanotubes may provide a protective effect against oxidative damage to DNA," Petersen says.

A possible explanation for the surprising result, Petersen says, is that the carbon nanotubes may act as scavengers, binding up the oxidative species in solution and preventing them from interacting with DNA. "We also saw a decrease in DNA damage when we did ultrasonication in the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), a chemical compound known to be a hydroxyl radical scavenger," Petersen says.

Petersen says that a third experiment where ultrasonication was performed in the presence of DMSO and SWCNTs at the same time produced an additive effect, reducing the DNA damage levels more significantly than either treatment alone.


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Contact: Michael E. Newman
michael.newman@nist.gov
301-975-3025
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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