This release is available in German.
In light of the increasing demand for artificial nanoparticles in medicine and industry, it is important for manufacturers to understand just how these particles influence bodily functions and which mechanisms are at play questions to which there has been a dearth of knowledge. Studies on heart patients have shown for decades that particulate matter has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system. Yet, it remained unclear whether the nanoparticles do their damage directly or indirectly, for example through metabolic processes or inflammatory reactions. The reactions of the body are simply too complex.
Using a so-called Langendorff heart an isolated rodent heart flushed with a nutrient solution in place of blood scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen and the TU Muenchen were for the first time able to show that nanoparticles have a clearly measurable effect on the heart. When exposed to a series of commonly used artificial nanoparticles, the heart reacted to certain types of particles with an increased heart rate, cardiac arrhythmia and modified ECG values that are typical for heart disease. "We use the heart as a detector," explains Professor Reinhard Niener, Director of the Institute of Hydrochemistry at the TU Muenchen. "In this way we can test whether specific nanoparticles have an effect on the heart function. Such an option did not exist hitherto."
Scientists can also use this new model heart to shed light on the mechanism by which the nanoparticles influence the heart rate. In order to do this, they enhanced Langendorff's experimental setup to allow the nutrient solution to be fed back into the loop once it has flown through the heart. This allows the scientists to enrich substances released by the heart and understand the heart's reaction to the nanoparticles.
According to Sta
|Contact: Dr. Andreas Battenberg|
Technische Universitaet Muenchen