Nanoparticles Can Help After A Traumatic Brain Injury
A nanoparticle developed at Rice University may bring great benefits to the emergency treatment of brain-injury victims, the research has implications for stroke victims and organ transplant patients as well. In a traumatic brain injury, cells release an excessive amount of an reactive oxygen species (ROS) known as superoxide (SO) into the blood. Superoxides are toxic free radicals, that the immune system normally uses to kill invading microorganisms. Healthy organisms balance SO with superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that neutralizes it, but even mild brain trauma can release superoxides at levels that overwhelm the brain’s natural defenses. The researchers found PEG-HCC nanoparticles immediately and completely suppressed superoxide activity and allowed the autoregulatory system to quickly regain its balance: within minutes of injecting it, the cerebral blood flow is back to normal. In fact, the nanoparticles showed no signs of toxicity, though any remaining questions should be answered by further tests. The researchers ascertained the half-life of PEG-HCCs in the blood to be between two and three hours.