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Nanoparticles eliminate plaques that cause heart attacks

Nanoparticles eliminate plaques that cause heart attacks

The dotted line outlines the atherosclerotic artery and the green represents our nanoparticles, which are in the plaque. Red indicates macrophages, which is the type of cell that nanoparticles are stimulating to eat debris. Credit: Bryan Smith, Michigan State University

Michigan State University and Stanford University scientists invented a nanoparticle that eats – from the inside out – portions of plaques that cause heart attacks.


Bryan Smith, associate professor of biomedical engineering at MSU, and a team of scientists have created a “Trojan Horse” nanoparticle that can be directed to eat debris, reducing and stabilizing plaque. The discovery could be a potential treatment for atherosclerosis, a leading cause of death in the United States.

The results, published in the current issue of Nanotechnology of nature, shows the nanoparticle which lodges on the atherosclerotic plaque due to its high selectivity for a particular type of immune cell: monocytes and macrophages. Once inside the macrophages in those plaques, it releases a pharmacological agent that stimulates the cell to swallow and eat cellular debris. Basically, it removes diseased / dead cells in the nucleus of the plaque. By reinvigorating macrophages, the size of the plaque is reduced and stabilized.

Smith said that future clinical studies of the nanoparticle should reduce the risk of most types of heart attacks, with minimal side effects due to the unprecedented selectivity of the nanodrug.

Smith’s studies focus on intercepting receptor signaling in macrophages and sending a message via small molecules using nano-immunotherapy platforms. Previous studies have acted on the cell surface, but this new approach works intracellularly and has been effective in stimulating macrophages.

“We found that we could stimulate macrophages to selectively eat dead and dying cells – these inflammatory cells are precursors of atherosclerosis – which are part of the cause of heart attacks,” said Smith. “We could deliver a small molecule inside the macrophages to tell them to start eating again.”

This approach also has applications beyond atherosclerosis, he added.

“We have been able to marry a revolutionary discovery in atherosclerosis by our collaborators with the selectivity and cutting-edge delivery capabilities of our advanced nanomaterial platform. We have shown that nanomaterials have been able to selectively seek and transmit a message to the cells needed, “said Smith. “It provides particular energy for our future work, which will include the clinical translation of these nanomaterials using large animal models and human tissue tests. We believe it is better than the previous methods.”

Smith has filed a provisional patent and will begin marketing it later this year.


High protein diets increase the plaque blocking the artery, the mouse study shows


More information:
Alyssa M. Flores et al. Pro-efferocytic nanoparticles are specifically absorbed by lesion macrophages and prevent atherosclerosis, Nanotechnology of nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41565-019-0619-3

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Michigan State University

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Nanoparticles eliminate plaques that cause heart attacks (2020, January 28)
recovered on January 28, 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-01-nanoparticle-chomps-plaques-heart.html

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