Navigation Links
Lung mucus gel scaffold prevents nanoparticles from getting through
Date:10/25/2012

Mucus coats our airways' internal surfaces. The viscous gel humidifies the lungs and prevents viruses and other small particles like diesel soot from entering the body unchecked. Previously unclear was the extent to which such nanoparticles are able to move through the lungs' mucus. Here, the research evidence was contradictory. Scientists could not explain why, in inhaled medication development, drug nanoparticles often simply got stuck in the mucus never making it to their target destination inside the lung cells.

Now, as part of a German Research Foundation (DFG)-funded study, pharmacists and physicists were finally able to shed light on this dilemma. Scientists from the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), a branch of the HZI, together with researchers from the Saarland University, the Universit Paris-Diderot, and Fresenius Medical Care Germany collaborated on the study. "The mucus inside the lungs is a very special kind of gel. Its structure is very different from other gels," explains Claus-Michael Lehr, Professor for Biopharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology at the Saarland University and head of the "Drug Delivery" Department at HIPS. "Normal" gels have a microstructure that resembles a delicate spiderweb made from thin, very fine threads that enclose small pores. When viewed under the microscope, lung mucus, by comparison, looks more like a sponge, with rigid, thick gel rods separating large pores filled with liquid gel. "These scaffold proteins are called mucins," explains Professor Lehr. The researchers have now shown that nanoparticles become stuck at these structures as though they were bars of a cage. The explanation for why many investigations found nanoparticles in the mucus to be highly mobile is because the research was done on a nanometer scale. Inside the pores, the particles can move around completely unobstructed and only when they try to move past individual pores are they prevented from doing so by the "bars."

"Our results are helping us to better understand the etiology of infectious diseases of the airways and how to treat them more effectively. In particular, they represent an important basis for the continued development of new inhaled medications," explains Professor Lehr. The newly gained insights show that it is important to consider how drugs overcome the mucus gel scaffold. Mucolytic techniques can be used where, essentially, the rods are melted such that they dissolve before the nanoparticle and, once the particle has passed, they fuse again.

One of the research tools Professor Christian Wagner and his team of experimental physicists at the Saarland University use to support their assumptions are optical tweezers: Bundled laser beams are used to grab and move the smallest particles just like you would use a regular pair of tweezers. "We can use the optical tweezers' laser beams to measure the force that is required to move a particle within the gel. This allows us to make conclusions about the medium that the bead is moved through," explains Professor Wagner. "We were able to pull the bead through the liquid inside the pore at a constant force just as we would if we were dealing with a normal gel. However, whenever the bead hits the pore's wall, in other words the mucus's gel rods, the laser beam is unable to move it any further," explains Wagner. Experiments using an atomic force microscope as well as other tests are further supporting their hypothesis: As such, iron nanoparticles were able to penetrate the "normal" reference gel but not the lung mucus without any difficulties under the influence of a magnetic field. Structural analyses of the mucus were performed by scientists at Fresenius Medical Care Germany using a cryo-electron microscope.

The researchers expect that insights into the special structure of lung mucus will help guiding the development of a new generation of drugs to treat diseases of the airways.


'/>"/>
Contact: Dr. Claus Michael Lehr
lehr@mx.uni-saarland.de
49-681-302-3039
Saarland University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. High-strength silk scaffolds improve bone repair
2. Marshall study shows nanoparticles used as additives in diesel fuels can travel from lungs to liver
3. Metal nanoparticles shine with customizable color
4. New measuring techniques can improve efficiency, safety of nanoparticles
5. Light touch keeps a grip on delicate nanoparticles
6. Nanoparticles seen as artificial atoms
7. Nanoparticles found in moon glass bubbles explain weird lunar soil behavior
8. Study improves understanding of surface molecules in controlling size of gold nanoparticles
9. Gold nanoparticles could treat prostate cancer with fewer side effects than chemotherapy
10. New structural information on functionalization of gold nanoparticles
11. New imaging technique homes in on electrocatalysis of nanoparticles
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Lung mucus gel scaffold prevents nanoparticles from getting through
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 01, 2016 , ... The Conference Forum has announced that the 3rd annual ... place on February 1-3, 2017 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Led ... a unique 360-degree approach, which addresses the most up-to-date information regarding business aspects, clinical ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... companies dedicated to collaboratively developing improved chemistry, manufacturing and control technologies for ... online UHPLC, with robust, probe-based sampling. , Online liquid chromatography analysis ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... PUNE, India , December 2, 2016 ... Billion by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 7.3% during the ... segment while hospitals and diagnostic laboratories segment accounted for the largest ... ... Complete report on global immunohistochemistry (IHC) market spread across 225 ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... CLEVELAND , Nov. 30, 2016  GenomOncology today announced ... Vice President of Medical Affairs.  Dr. Coleman ... enhancing the company,s proprietary knowledge-enabled platform. The GenomOncology software suite ... of genetic sequencing data and clinical decision support, from quality ... , ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of ... during the major tournament Teleste, an ... systems and services, announced today that its video security solution ... to back up public safety across the country. The ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... --  The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: ... in which consumers will be able to interact with IBM ... voice or text and receive relevant information about the product ... have long sought an advertising solution that can create a ... and valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):