ResearchPad - nanomaterials https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Imaging dataset of fresh hydrous plants obtained by field-emission scanning electron microscopy conducted using a protective NanoSuit]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7644 Although scanning electron microscopy (SEM) can generate high-resolution images of nanosized objects, it requires a high vacuum to do so, which precludes direct observations of living organisms and often produces unwanted structural changes. It has previously been reported that a simple surface modification gives rise to a nanoscale layer, termed the “NanoSuit”, which can keep small animals alive under the high vacuum required for field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). We have previously applied this technique to plants, and successfully observed healthy petals in a fully hydrated state using SEM. The flower petals protected with the NanoSuit appeared intact, although we still lack a fundamental understanding of the images of other plants observed using FE-SEM. This report presents and evaluates a rich set of images, acquired using the NanoSuit, for a taxonomically diverse set of plant species. This dataset of images allows the surface features of various plants to be analyzed and thus provides a further complementary morphological profile. Image data can be accessed and viewed through Figshare (https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4446026.v1).

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<![CDATA[Graphene oxide in zinc alginate films: Antibacterial activity, cytotoxicity, zinc release, water sorption/diffusion, wettability and opacity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c990314d5eed0c484b98c1a

Alginate is considered an exceptional biomaterial due to its hydrophilicity, biocompatibility, biodegradability, nontoxicity and low-cost in comparison with other biopolymers. We have recently demonstrated that the incorporation of 1% graphene oxide (GO) into alginate films crosslinked with Ca2+ cations provides antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis, and no cytotoxicity for human keratinocyte HaCaT cells. However, many other reports in literature have shown controversial results about the toxicity of GO demanding further investigation. Furthermore, the synergic effect of GO with other divalent cations with intrinsic antibacterial and cytotoxic activity such as Zn2+ has not been explored yet. Thus, here, two commercially available sodium alginates were characterised and utilized in the synthesis of zinc alginate films with GO following the same chemical route reported for the calcium alginate/GO composites. The results of this study showed that zinc release, water sorption/diffusion and wettability depended significantly on the type of alginate utilized. Furthermore, Zn2+ and GO produced alginate films with increased water diffusion, wettability and opacity. However, neither the combination of GO with Zn2+ nor the use of different types of sodium alginates modified the antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity of the zinc alginates against these Gram-positive pathogens and human cells respectively.

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<![CDATA[Tunable nonenzymatic degradability of N-substituted polyaspartamide main chain by amine protonation and alkyl spacer length in side chains for enhanced messenger RNA transfection efficiency]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c80152cd5eed0c484a9ed9c

ABSTRACT

Degradability of polycations under physiological conditions is an attractive feature for their use in biomedical applications, such as the delivery of nucleic acids. This study aims to design polycations with tunable nonenzymatic degradability. A series of cationic N-substituted polyaspartamides were prepared to possess primary amine via various lengths of alkyl spacers in side chains. The degradation rate of each polyaspartamide derivative was determined by size exclusion chromatography under different pH conditions. The N-substituted polyaspartamide containing a 2-aminoethyl moiety in the side chain (PAsp(AE)) showed considerable degradability under physiological conditions (pH 7.4, 37 °C). In contrast, the N-substituted polyaspartamides bearing a longer alkyl spacer in the side chain, i.e. the 3-aminopropyl (PAsp(AP)) and 4-aminobutyl moieties (PAsp(AB)), more strongly suppressed degradation. Further, a positive correlation was observed between the degradation rate of N-substituted polyaspartamides and a deprotonation degree of primary amines in their side chains. Therefore, we conclude that the deprotonated primary amine in the side chain of N-substituted polyaspartamides can induce the degradation of the main chain through the activation of amide nitrogen in the side chain. When N-substituted polyaspartamides were utilized as a messenger RNA (mRNA) delivery vehicle via formation of polyion complexes (PICs), degradable PAsp(AE) elicited significantly higher mRNA expression efficiency in cultured cells compared to PAsp(AP) and PAsp(AB). The higher efficiency of PAsp(AE) might be due to the facilitated destabilization of PICs within the cells, directed toward mRNA release. Additionally, degradation of PAsp(AE) considerably reduced its cytotoxicity. Thus, our study highlights a useful design of well-defined cationic poly(amino acid)s with tunable nonenzymatic degradability.

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<![CDATA[Exploring the effects of electrospun fiber surface nanotopography on neurite outgrowth and branching in neuron cultures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8c9d5eed0c48496f18d

Three aligned, electrospun fiber scaffolds with unique surface features were created from poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). Fibers without surface nanotopography (smooth fibers), fibers with surface divots (shallow pits), and fibers with surface pits (deeper pits) were fabricated, and fiber alignment, diameter, and density were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Whole dorsal root ganglia (DRG) were isolated from rats and placed onto uncoated fibers or fibers coated with laminin. On uncoated fibers, neurite outgrowth was restricted by fibers displaying divoted or pitted nanotopography when compared to neurite outgrowth on smooth fibers. However, neurites extending from whole DRG cultured on laminin-coated fibers were not restricted by divoted or pitted surface nanotopography. Thus, neurites extending on laminin-coated fibers were able to extend long neurites even in the presence of surface divots or pits. To further explore this result, individual neurons isolated from dissociated DRG were seeded onto laminin-coated smooth, pitted, or divoted fibers. Interestingly, neurons on pitted or divoted fibers exhibited a 1.5-fold increase in total neurite length, and a 2.3 or 2.7-fold increase in neurite branching compared to neurons on smooth fibers, respectively. Based on these findings, we conclude that fiber roughness in the form of pits or divots can promote extension and branching of long neurites along aligned electrospun fibers in the presence of an extracellular matrix protein coating. Thus, aligned, electrospun fibers can be crafted to not only direct the extension of axons but to induce unique branching morphologies.

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<![CDATA[Developing a Highly Stable PLGA-mPEG Nanoparticle Loaded with Cisplatin for Chemotherapy of Ovarian Cancer]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ecab0ee8fa60b6cc54

Background

Cisplatin is a potent anticancer drug, but its clinical application has been limited due to its undesirable physicochemical characteristics and severe side effects. Better drug formulations for cisplatin are highly desired.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Herein, we have developed a nanoparticle formulation for cisplatin with high encapsulation efficiency and reduced toxicity by using cisplatin-crosslinked carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) core nanoparticles made from poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-monomethoxy-poly(polyethylene glycol) copolymers (PLGA-mPEG). The nanoparticles have an average diameter of approximately 80 nm measured by transmission electron microscope (TEM). The encapsulation efficiency of cisplatin in the nanoparticles is up to 72%. Meanwhile, we have also observed a controlled release of cisplatin in a sustained manner and dose-dependent treatment efficacy of cisplatin-loaded nanoparticles against IGROV1-CP cells. Moreover, the median lethal dose (LD50) of the cisplatin-loaded nanoparticles was more than 100 mg/kg by intravenous administration, which was much higher than that of free cisplatin.

Conclusion

This developed cisplatin-loaded nanoparticle is a promising formulation for the delivery of cisplatin, which will be an effective therapeutic regimen of ovarian cancer without severe side effects and cumulative toxicity.

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<![CDATA[Systematic Review of Screening and Surveillance Programs to Protect Workers from Nanomaterials]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da95ab0ee8fa60ba176d

Background

Screening and surveillance approaches for workers exposed to nanomaterials could aid in early detection of health effects, provide data for epidemiological studies and inform action to decrease exposure. The aim of this review is to identify such screening and surveillance approaches, in order to extract available data regarding (i) the studies that have successfully been implemented in present day, (ii) identification of the most common and/or toxic nano-related health hazards for workers and (iii) possible exposure surveillance markers. This review contributes to the current understanding of the risk associated with nanomaterials by determining the knowledge gap and making recommendations based on current findings.

Methods

A systematic review was conducted. PubMed and Embase were searched to identify articles reporting on any surveillance-related study that described both exposure to nanomaterials and the health indicators that were measured. Four reviewers worked in pairs to independently assess the eligibility of studies and risk of bias before extraction of data. Studies were categorised according to the type of study and the medical surveillance performed, which included the type of nanomaterial, any exposure details provided, as well as health indicators and biomarkers tested.

Results

Initially 92 studies were identified, from which 84 full texts were assessed for eligibility. Seven studies met all the inclusion criteria, i.e. those performed in Taiwan, Korea, Czech Republic and the US. Of these, six compared health indicators between exposed and unexposed workers and one study described a surveillance program. All studies were at a high risk of bias. Workers were exposed to a mix of nanomaterials in three studies, carbon-based nanomaterials in two studies, nano-silver in one study and nano-titanium oxide in the other study. Two studies did not find a difference in biomarkers between exposed and unexposed workers. In addition, differences in early effects on pulmonary function or neurobehavioral tests were not observed. One study found an increased prevalence of allergic dermatitis and “sneezing” in the exposed group.

Conclusions

This review of recently published data on surveillance studies proves that there is a gap in the current knowledge, where most of the surveillance-related studies reported do not follow a set format that provides the required information on ENM characterisation, the type of exposure and the measured indicators/biomarkers. Hence, there is very low quality evidence that screening and surveillance might detect adverse health effects associated with workplace exposure. This systematic review is relevant because it proves that, although surveillance programs have been initiated and preliminary results are being published, the current studies are actually not answering the important questions or solving the overall problem regarding what the potential health hazards are among workers either handling or potentially exposed to ENMs. The recommendations, thus proposed, are based on an obvious need for (i) exposure registries, where longitudinal follow-up studies should inform surveillance, (ii) known exposure measurements or summary indices for ENMs as a reference (iii) validation of candidate biomarkers and (iv) studies that compare the effects of these surveillance approaches to usual care, e.g. those commonly followed for bulk-size hazardous materials.

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<![CDATA[Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Highlights That the Oxygen Effect Contributes to the Radiosensitizing Effect of Paclitaxel]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9deab0ee8fa60b687fd

Background

Paclitaxel (PTX) is a potent anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent and is widely used in the treatments of solid tumors, particularly of the breast and ovaries. An effective and safe micellar formulation of PTX was used to administer higher doses of PTX than Taxol® (the current commercialized drug). We hypothesize that PTX-loaded micelles (M-PTX) may enhance tumor radiosensitivity by increasing the tumor oxygenation (pO2). Our goals were (i) to evaluate the contribution of the “oxygen effect” to the radiosensitizing effect of PTX; (ii) to demonstrate the therapeutic relevance of the combination of M-PTX and irradiation and (iii) to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the observed oxygen effect.

Methodology and Principal Findings

We used (PEG-p-(CL-co-TMC)) polymeric micelles to solubilize PTX. pO2 was measured on TLT tumor-bearing mice treated with M-PTX (80 mg/kg) using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) oximetry. The regrowth delay following 10 Gy irradiation 24 h after M-PTX treatment was measured. The tumor perfusion was assessed by the patent blue staining. The oxygen consumption rate and the apoptosis were evaluated by EPR oximetry and the TUNEL assay, respectively. EPR oximetry experiments showed that M-PTX dramatically increases the pO2 24 h post treatment. Regrowth delay assays demonstrated a synergy between M-PTX and irradiation. M-PTX increased the tumor blood flow while cells treated with M-PTX consumed less oxygen and presented more apoptosis.

Conclusions

M-PTX improved the tumor oxygenation which leads to synergy between this treatment and irradiation. This increased pO2 can be explained both by an increased blood flow and an inhibition of O2 consumption.

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<![CDATA[Increase of tensile strength and toughness of bio-based diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A with chitin nanowhiskers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5eab0ee8fa60be0a95

It is challenging to reinforce and toughen thermoset epoxy resins. We describe a slurry-compounding technique to transfer a uniform dispersion of chitin nanowhiskers (CW) in ethanol into an epoxy matrix. The incorporation of the hydrophilic CW reinforces the oil-soluble diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA). The resultant CW/epoxy bionanocomposites were transparent and showed considerably enhanced thermal and mechanical properties with tensile strength, modulus, toughness, and elongation at break being increased by 49%, 16%, 457%, and 250%, with only 2.5 wt.% CW. This improvement in strength and toughness is rare for thermoset epoxy/rigid nanofiller systems. We hypothesize that CW with many free amine groups could function not only as a nanofiller but also as a macromolecular polyamine hardener that participates in epoxy curing. The strong covalent interaction between the filler and the matrix allowed for efficient load transfer across the interfaces, which accounted for the greater strength and toughness.

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<![CDATA[Preparation and Characterization of Octenyl Succinic Anhydride Modified Taro Starch Nanoparticles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db07ab0ee8fa60bc89e5

The polar surface and hydrophilicity of starch nanoparticles (SNPs) result in their poor dispersibility in nonpolar solvent and poor compatibility with hydrophobic polymers, which limited the application in hydrophobic system. To improve their hydrophobicity, SNPs prepared through self-assembly of short chain amylose debranched from cooked taro starch, were modified by octenyl succinic anhydride (OSA). Size via dynamic light scattering of OSA-SNPs increased compared with SNPs. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy data indicated the OSA-SNPs had a new absorption peak at 1727 cm-1, which was the characteristic peak of carbonyl, indicating the formation of the ester bond. The dispersibility of the modified SNPs in the mixture of water with nonpolar solvent increased with increasing of degree of substitution (DS). OSA-SNPs appear to be a potential agent to stabilize the oil-water systems.

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<![CDATA[Competing Interactions in DNA Assembly on Graphene]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db08ab0ee8fa60bc90d3

We study the patterns that short strands of single-stranded DNA form on the top graphene surface of graphite. We find that the DNA assembles into two distinct patterns, small spherical particles and elongated networks. Known interaction models based on DNA-graphene binding, hydrophobic interactions, or models based on the purine/pyrimidine nature of the bases do not explain our observed crossover in pattern formation. We argue that the observed assembly behavior is caused by a crossover in the competition between base-base pi stacking and base-graphene pi stacking and we infer a critical crossover energy of eV. The experiments therefore provide a projective measurement of the base-base interaction strength.

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<![CDATA[Dynamic Prestress in a Globular Protein]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6cab0ee8fa60b934d3

A protein at equilibrium is commonly thought of as a fully relaxed structure, with the intra-molecular interactions showing fluctuations around their energy minimum. In contrast, here we find direct evidence for a protein as a molecular tensegrity structure, comprising a balance of tensed and compressed interactions, a concept that has been put forward for macroscopic structures. We quantified the distribution of inter-residue prestress in ubiquitin and immunoglobulin from all-atom molecular dynamics simulations. The network of highly fluctuating yet significant inter-residue forces in proteins is a consequence of the intrinsic frustration of a protein when sampling its rugged energy landscape. In beta sheets, this balance of forces is found to compress the intra-strand hydrogen bonds. We estimate that the observed magnitude of this pre-compression is enough to induce significant changes in the hydrogen bond lifetimes; thus, prestress, which can be as high as a few 100 pN, can be considered a key factor in determining the unfolding kinetics and pathway of proteins under force. Strong pre-tension in certain salt bridges on the other hand is connected to the thermodynamic stability of ubiquitin. Effective force profiles between some side-chains reveal the signature of multiple, distinct conformational states, and such static disorder could be one factor explaining the growing body of experiments revealing non-exponential unfolding kinetics of proteins. The design of prestress distributions in engineering proteins promises to be a new tool for tailoring the mechanical properties of made-to-order nanomaterials.

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<![CDATA[Accelerated Wound Closure - Differently Organized Nanofibers Affect Cell Migration and Hence the Closure of Artificial Wounds in a Cell Based In Vitro Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9feab0ee8fa60b730a7

Nanofiber meshes holds great promise in wound healing applications by mimicking the topography of extracellular matrix, hence providing guidance for crucial cells involved in the regenerative processes. Here we explored the influence of nanofiber alignment on fibroblast behavior in a novel in vitro wound model. The model included electrospun poly-ε-caprolactone scaffolds with different nanofiber orientation. Fibroblasts were cultured to confluency for 24h before custom-made inserts were removed, creating cell-free zones serving as artificial wounds. Cell migration into these wounds was evaluated at 0-, 48- and 96h. Cell morphological analysis was performed using nuclei- and cytoskeleton stainings. Cell viability was assessed using a biochemical assay. This study demonstrates a novel in vitro wound assay, for exploring of the impact of nanofibers on wound healing. Additionally we show that it’s possible to affect the process of wound closure in a spatial manner using nanotopographies, resulting in faster closure on aligned fiber substrates.

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<![CDATA[Automated Phenotype Recognition for Zebrafish Embryo Based In Vivo High Throughput Toxicity Screening of Engineered Nano-Materials]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab0ab0ee8fa60bab13b

A phenotype recognition model was developed for high throughput screening (HTS) of engineered Nano-Materials (eNMs) toxicity using zebrafish embryo developmental response classified, from automatically captured images and without manual manipulation of zebrafish positioning, by three basic phenotypes (i.e., hatched, unhatched, and dead). The recognition model was built with a set of vectorial descriptors providing image color and texture information. The best performing model was attained with three image descriptors (color histogram, representative color, and color layout) identified as most suitable from an initial pool of six descriptors. This model had an average recognition accuracy of 97.40±0.95% in a 10-fold cross-validation and 93.75% in a stress test of low quality zebrafish images. The present work has shown that a phenotyping model can be developed with accurate recognition ability suitable for zebrafish-based HTS assays. Although the present methodology was successfully demonstrated for only three basic zebrafish embryonic phenotypes, it can be readily adapted to incorporate more subtle phenotypes.

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<![CDATA[Curvelet Based Offline Analysis of SEM Images]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadeab0ee8fa60bbae52

Manual offline analysis, of a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image, is a time consuming process and requires continuous human intervention and efforts. This paper presents an image processing based method for automated offline analyses of SEM images. To this end, our strategy relies on a two-stage process, viz. texture analysis and quantification. The method involves a preprocessing step, aimed at the noise removal, in order to avoid false edges. For texture analysis, the proposed method employs a state of the art Curvelet transform followed by segmentation through a combination of entropy filtering, thresholding and mathematical morphology (MM). The quantification is carried out by the application of a box-counting algorithm, for fractal dimension (FD) calculations, with the ultimate goal of measuring the parameters, like surface area and perimeter. The perimeter is estimated indirectly by counting the boundary boxes of the filled shapes. The proposed method, when applied to a representative set of SEM images, not only showed better results in image segmentation but also exhibited a good accuracy in the calculation of surface area and perimeter. The proposed method outperforms the well-known Watershed segmentation algorithm.

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<![CDATA[Inhibition of Fumonisin B1 Cytotoxicity by Nanosilicate Platelets during Mouse Embryo Development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadbab0ee8fa60bb9d4f

Nanosilicate platelets (NSP), the form of natural silicate clay that was exfoliated from montmorillonite (MMT), is widely used as a feed additive for its high non-specific binding capacity with mycotoxins such as fumonisin B1 (FB1), and has been evaluated its safety for biomedical use including cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and lethal dosage (LD). In the study, we further examined its toxicity on the development of CD1 mouse embryos and its capacity to prevent teratogenesis-induced by FB1. In vitro cultures, NSP did not disturb the development and the quality of intact pre-implantation mouse embryos. Further, newborn mice from females consumed with NSP showed no abnormalities. NSP had an unexpected high adsorption capacity in vitro. In contrast to female mice consumed with FB1 only, a very low residual level of FB1 in the circulation, reduced incidence of neutral tube defects and significantly increased fetal weight were observed in the females consumed with FB1 and NSP, suggesting a high alleviation effect of NSP on FB1 in vivo. Furthermore, FB1 treatment disturbed the gene expression of sphingolipid metabolism enzymes (longevity assurance homolog 5, LASS 5; sphingosine kinase 1, Sphk1; sphingosine kinase 2, Sphk2; sphingosine 1- phosphate lyase, Sgpl1; sphingosine 1-phosphate phosphatase, Sgpp1) in the maternal liver, uterus, fetus, and placenta, but NSP administration reversed the perturbations. Based on these findings, we conclude that NSP is a feasible and effective agent for supplementary use in reducing the toxicity of FB1 to animals.

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<![CDATA[The Intrinsic Resolution Limit in the Atomic Force Microscope: Implications for Heights of Nano-Scale Features]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da01ab0ee8fa60b7421a

Background

Accurate mechanical characterization by the atomic force microscope at the highest spatial resolution requires that topography is deconvoluted from indentation. The measured height of nanoscale features in the atomic force microscope (AFM) is almost always smaller than the true value, which is often explained away as sample deformation, the formation of salt deposits and/or dehydration. We show that the real height of nano-objects cannot be obtained directly: a result arising as a consequence of the local probe-sample geometry.

Methods and Findings

We have modeled the tip-surface-sample interaction as the sum of the interaction between the tip and the surface and the tip and the sample. We find that the dynamics of the AFM cannot differentiate between differences in force resulting from 1) the chemical and/or mechanical characteristics of the surface or 2) a step in topography due to the size of the sample; once the size of a feature becomes smaller than the effective area of interaction between the AFM tip and sample, the measured height is compromised. This general result is a major contributor to loss of height and can amount to up to ∼90% for nanoscale features. In particular, these very large values in height loss may occur even when there is no sample deformation, and, more generally, height loss does not correlate with sample deformation. DNA and IgG antibodies have been used as model samples where experimental height measurements are shown to closely match the predicted phenomena.

Conclusions

Being able to measure the true height of single nanoscale features is paramount in many nanotechnology applications since phenomena and properties in the nanoscale critically depend on dimensions. Our approach allows accurate predictions for the true height of nanoscale objects and will lead to reliable mechanical characterization at the highest spatial resolution.

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<![CDATA[Molecular Control of TiO2-NPs Toxicity Formation at Predicted Environmental Relevant Concentrations by Mn-SODs Proteins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4dab0ee8fa60bdb0dd

With growing concerns of the safety of nanotechnology, the in vivo toxicity of nanoparticles (NPs) at environmental relevant concentrations has drawn increasing attentions. We investigated the possible molecular mechanisms of titanium nanoparticles (Ti-NPs) in the induction of toxicity at predicted environmental relevant concentrations. In nematodes, small sizes (4 nm and 10 nm) of TiO2-NPs induced more severe toxicities than large sizes (60 nm and 90 nm) of TiO2-NPs on animals using lethality, growth, reproduction, locomotion behavior, intestinal autofluorescence, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production as endpoints. Locomotion behaviors could be significantly decreased by exposure to 4-nm and 10-nm TiO2-NPs at concentration of 1 ng/L in nematodes. Among genes required for the control of oxidative stress, only the expression patterns of sod-2 and sod-3 genes encoding Mn-SODs in animals exposed to small sizes of TiO2-NPs were significantly different from those in animals exposed to large sizes of TiO2-NPs. sod-2 and sod-3 gene expressions were closely correlated with lethality, growth, reproduction, locomotion behavior, intestinal autofluorescence, and ROS production in TiO2-NPs-exposed animals. Ectopically expression of human and nematode Mn-SODs genes effectively prevented the induction of ROS production and the development of toxicity of TiO2-NPs. Therefore, the altered expression patterns of Mn-SODs may explain the toxicity formation for different sizes of TiO2-NPs at predicted environmental relevant concentrations. In addition, we demonstrated here a strategy to investigate the toxicological effects of exposure to NPs upon humans by generating transgenic strains in nematodes for specific human genes.

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<![CDATA[Evaluation of Early and Late Effects into the Acute Spinal Cord Injury of an Injectable Functionalized Self-Assembling Scaffold]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da15ab0ee8fa60b7acf8

The complex physiopathological events occurring after spinal cord injury (SCI) make this devastating trauma still incurable. Self-assembling peptides (SAPs) are nanomaterials displaying some appealing properties for application in regenerative medicine because they mimic the structure of the extra-cellular matrix (ECM), are reabsorbable, allow biofunctionalizations and can be injected directly into the lesion. In this study we evaluated the putative neurorigenerative properties of RADA16-4G-BMHP1 SAP, proved to enhance in vitro neural stem cells survival and differentiation. This SAP (RADA16-I) has been functionalized with a bone marrow homing motif (BMHP1) and optimized via the insertion of a 4-glycine-spacer that ameliorates scaffold stability and exposure of the biomotifs. We injected the scaffold immediately after contusion in the rat spinal cord, then we evaluated the early effects by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and the late effects by histological analysis. Locomotor recovery over 8 weeks was assessed using Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) test. Gene expression analysis showed that at 7 days after lesion the functionalized SAP induced a general upregulation of GAP-43, trophic factors and ECM remodelling proteins, whereas 3 days after SCI no remarkable changes were observed. Hystological analysis revealed that 8 weeks after SCI our scaffold increased cellular infiltration, basement membrane deposition and axon regeneration/sprouting within the cyst. Moreover the functionalized SAP showed to be compatible with the surrounding nervous tissue and to at least partially fill the cavities. Finally SAP injection resulted in a statistically significant improvement of both hindlimbs' motor performance and forelimbs-hindlimbs coordination. Altogether, these results indicate that RADA16-4G-BMHP1 induced favourable reparative processes, such as matrix remodelling, and provided a physical and trophic support to nervous tissue ingrowth. Thus this biomaterial, eventually combined with cells and growth factors, may constitute a promising biomimetic scaffold for regenerative applications in the injured central nervous system.

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<![CDATA[Cell survival and differentiation with nanocrystalline glass-like carbon using substantia nigra dopaminergic cells derived from transgenic mouse embryos]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc051

Regenerative medicine requires, in many cases, physical supports to facilitate appropriate cellular architecture, cell polarization and the improvement of the correct differentiation processes of embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent cells or adult cells. Because the interest in carbon nanomaterials has grown within the last decade in light of a wide variety of applications, the aim of this study was to test and evaluate the suitability and cytocompatibility of a particular nanometer-thin nanocrystalline glass-like carbon film (NGLC) composed of curved graphene flakes joined by an amorphous carbon matrix. This material is a disordered structure with high transparency and electrical conductivity. For this purpose, we used a cell line (SN4741) from substantia nigra dopaminergic cells derived from transgenic mouse embryos. Cells were cultured either in a powder of increasing concentrations of NGLC microflakes (82±37μm) in the medium or on top of nanometer-thin films bathed in the same culture medium. The metabolism activity of SN4741 cells in presence of NGLC was assessed using methylthiazolyldiphenyl-tetrazolium (MTT) and apoptosis/necrosis flow cytometry assay respectively. Growth and proliferation as well as senescence were demonstrated by western blot (WB) of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), monoclonal phosphorylate Histone 3 (serine 10) (PH3) and SMP30 marker. Specific dopaminergic differentiation was confirmed by the WB analysis of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). Cell maturation and neural capability were characterized using specific markers (SYP: synaptophysin and GIRK2: G-protein-regulated inward-rectifier potassium channel 2 protein) via immunofluorescence and coexistence measurements. The results demonstrated cell positive biocompatibility with different concentrations of NGLC. The cells underwent a process of adaptation of SN4741 cells to NGLC where their metabolism decreases. This process is related to a decrease of PH3 expression and significant increase SMP30 related to senescence processes. After 7 days, the cells increased the expression of TH and PCNA that is related to processes of DNA replication.

On the other hand, cells cultured on top of the film showed axonal-like alignment, edge orientation, and network-like images after 7 days. Neuronal capability was demonstrated to a certain extent through the analysis of significant coexistence between SYP and GIRK2. Furthermore, we found a direct relationship between the thickness of the films and cell maturation. Although these findings share certain similarities to our previous findings with graphene oxide and its derivatives, this particular nanomaterial possesses the advantages of high conductivity and transparency. In conclusion, NGLC could represent a new platform for biomedical applications, such as for use in neural tissue engineering and biocompatible devices.

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<![CDATA[Lipid Nanocapsules Loaded with Rhenium-188 Reduce Tumor Progression in a Rat Hepatocellular Carcinoma Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da00ab0ee8fa60b73be1

Background

Due to their nanometric scale (50 nm) along with their biomimetic properties, lipid nanocapsules loaded with Rhenium-188 (LNC188Re-SSS) constitute a promising radiopharmaceutical carrier for hepatocellular carcinoma treatment as its size may improve tumor penetration in comparison with microspheres devices. This study was conducted to confirm the feasibility and to assess the efficacy of internal radiation with LNC188Re-SSS in a chemically induced hepatocellular carcinoma rat model.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Animals were treated with an injection of LNC188Re-SSS (80 MBq or 120 MBq). The treated animals (80 MBq, n = 12; 120 MBq, n = 11) were compared with sham (n = 12), blank LNC (n = 7) and 188Re-perrhenate (n = 4) animals. The evaluation criteria included rat survival, tumor volume assessment, and vascular endothelial growth factor quantification. Following treatment with LNC188Re-SSS (80 MBq) therapeutic efficiency was demonstrated by an increase in the median survival from 54 to 107% compared with control groups with up to 7 long-term survivors in the LNC188Re-SSS group. Decreased vascular endothelial growth factor expression in the treated rats could indicate alterations in the angiogenesis process.

Conclusions/Significance

Overall, these results demonstrate that internal radiation with LNC188Re-SSS is a promising new strategy for hepatocellular carcinoma treatment.

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