Nanoparticles can limit inflammation by distracting the immune system

A surprise finding suggests that an injection of nanoparticles may be able to help fight the immune system when it goes haywire, researchers at the University of Michigan have shown. The nanoparticles divert immune cells that cause inflammation away from an injury site.

Inflammation is a double-edged sword. When it works, it helps the body heal and fights off infections. But sometimes, the immune system overreacts. An acute lung injury, sustained by inhaling smoke, for instance, can lead to runaway fluid production that essentially drowns a person.

Now, experiments in mice suggest that simple plastic nanoparticles, delivered by IV, may be able to keep a type of immune cell—called a neutrophil—too busy to cause inflammation. Other diseases in which neutrophils cause excessive inflammation include sepsis and the hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis.

“Neutrophils are the first line of defense. They are the most active and the most optimized to mount an inflammatory response,” said Omolola Eniola-Adefeso, a professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering at U-M, who led the research. “They’re the underdogs of white blood cells, and we’re seeing that maybe we need to pay more attention to them.”

She didn’t start out looking to redirect the immune system with nanoparticles.

Read more at phys.com

Image Credit:  Catherine Fromen, Cell Adhesion & Drug Delivery Lab, University of Michigan. 

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2018-03-22T14:32:29+00:00

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