Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Squishy hydrogels may be the ticket for studying biological effects of nanoparticles

After four days, quantum dots still shine (green) in cells embedded in a hydrogel scaffold.

Credit: Mansfield/NIST
After four days, quantum dots still shine (green) in cells embedded in a hydrogel scaffold.

Credit: Mansfield/NIST

Abstract:
A class of water-loving, jelly-like materials with uses ranges ranging from the mundane, such as superabsorbent diaper liners, to the sophisticated, such as soft contact lenses, could be tapped for a new line of serious work: testing the biological effects of nanoparticles now being eyed for a large variety of uses.

Squishy hydrogels may be the ticket for studying biological effects of nanoparticles

Gaithersburg, MD | Posted on May 15th, 2013

New research* by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrates that three-dimensional scaffolds made with cells and supporting materials known as hydrogels can serve as life-like measurement platforms for evaluating how tiny engineered materials interact with cells and tissues. Their proof-of-concept study suggests that hydrogel tissue scaffolds can be a "powerful bridge" between current laboratory tests and tests that use animal models.

Today, laboratory tests of nanoparticles usually entail exposing a two-dimensional layer of cells to the material of interest. Besides being questionable substitutes for the complex cellular frameworks that make up tissues and organs inside the body, these tests can yield conflicting results, explains analytical chemist Elisabeth Mansfield, lead researcher on the new NIST study.

"Our study shows that hydrogel-based, tissue-engineering scaffolds can provide more realistic environments to study nanoparticle-influenced cell biology over extended periods," she says. Importantly, the NIST research shows that studies employing the scaffold do not require exposing cells to nanoparticles in doses that exceed normal exposure levels.

Hydrogels are networks of stringy, branching polymer molecules with ends that latch onto water molecules—so much so that 99.9 percent of a hydrogel may consist of water. Depending on the spacing between the strands (the so-called mesh size) and other factors, hydrogels can support and promote the growth and differentiation of cell populations.

While hydrogels occur naturally—an example is cartilage—the NIST team chose to craft its own, giving them control over the mesh size in the scaffolds they created.

In their experiment, the team used polyethylene glycol—a common polymer used in skin creams, toothpaste, lubricants and other products—to create three hydrogels with different mesh sizes. One set of hydrogels was populated with rat cells containing ultrasmall semiconducting materials known as quantum dots. When exposed to light, quantum dots emit strong fluorescent signals that enabled the researchers to track the fate of treated cells in the synthetic scaffolds.

Results were compared with those for similarly treated cells grown in a single layer on a substrate, akin to standard laboratory toxicology tests.

The NIST researchers found that cells diffused through the hydrogel scaffold, forming a persisting tissue-like structure. Quantum dots attached to cell membranes and, over time, were absorbed into the cells.

Three-dimensional scaffolds often are used to test cells for multi-week experiments, and NIST researchers found quantum dots can be detected for four or more days inside the scaffold.

As significant, cells that populated the hydrogel scaffolds were exposed to lower levels of quantum dots, yielding a more representative scenario for evaluating biological effects.

The NIST team concludes that, compared with conventional cell cultures, hydrogel scaffolds provide a more realistic, longer-lived biological environment for studying how engineering nanoparticles interact with cells. In addition, the scaffolds will accommodate studies of how these interactions evolve over time and of how the physical features of nanoparticles may change.

*E. Mansfield, T.L. Oreskovic, N.S. Rentz, and K.M. Jeerage, Three-dimensional hydrogel constructs for exposing cells to nanoparticles. Nanotoxicology, 2013; Early Online. DOI: 10.3109/17435390.2013.790998.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Mark Bello

301-975-3776

Copyright © National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Scientists find a way of acquiring graphene-like films from salts to boost nanoelectronics: Physicists use supercomputers to find a way of making 'imitation graphene' from salt July 30th, 2016

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law: The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold July 30th, 2016

New method for making green LEDs enhances their efficiency and brightness July 30th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Laboratories

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Scientists develop way to upsize nanostructures into light, flexible 3-D printed materials: Virginia Tech, Livermore National Lab researchers develop hierarchical 3-D printed metallic materials July 20th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law: The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold July 30th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Discoveries

Scientists find a way of acquiring graphene-like films from salts to boost nanoelectronics: Physicists use supercomputers to find a way of making 'imitation graphene' from salt July 30th, 2016

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law: The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold July 30th, 2016

New method for making green LEDs enhances their efficiency and brightness July 30th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

Scientists find a way of acquiring graphene-like films from salts to boost nanoelectronics: Physicists use supercomputers to find a way of making 'imitation graphene' from salt July 30th, 2016

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Announcements

Scientists find a way of acquiring graphene-like films from salts to boost nanoelectronics: Physicists use supercomputers to find a way of making 'imitation graphene' from salt July 30th, 2016

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law: The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold July 30th, 2016

New method for making green LEDs enhances their efficiency and brightness July 30th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

UK NANOSAFETY GROUP publishes 2nd Edition of guidance to support safe working with nanomaterials May 30th, 2016

PETA science group publishes a review on pulmonary effects of nanomaterials: Archives of Toxicology publishes a review of scientific studies on fibrotic potential of nanomaterials May 26th, 2016

Common nanoparticle has subtle effects on oxidative stress genes May 11th, 2016

Non-animal approach to predict impact of nanomaterials on human lung published Archives of Toxicology publishes workshop recommendations May 2nd, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Starpharma initiates new DEP™ drug delivery program with AstraZeneca July 27th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Accurate design of large icosahedral protein nanocages pushes bioengineering boundaries: Scientists used computational methods to build ten large, two-component, co-assembling icosahedral protein complexes the size of small virus coats July 25th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic