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Carbon nanoparticles stimulate blood clotting, researchers report

HOUSTON (Oct. 21, 2005) --Carbon nanoparticles both those unleashed in the air by engine exhaust and the engineered structures thought to have great potential in medical applications promote blood-clotting, scientists report in an upcoming edition of the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Ohio University examined the impact of various forms of carbon nanoparticles in a laboratory experiment on human platelets blood's principal clotting element and in a model of carotid artery thrombosis, or blockage, using anesthetized rats.

"We found that some carbon nanoparticles activate human platelets and stimulate them to aggregate, or clump together. We also demonstrate that the same nanoparticles stimulated blockage of the carotid artery in the rat model," said research team leader Marek Radomski, M.D., Ph.D., of the Center for Vascular Biology at the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) at the UT Health Science Center.

C60, a spherical carbon molecule also known as a fullerene or "bucky ball," was the exception, showing no effect on human platelet aggregation and very little effect on rat thrombosis.

"This research is not a case against nanotechnology. It's difficult to overestimate the importance of this amazing technology's ability to transform medicine. But it's good to assess the risk of a new technology in advance. This is a case for moving ahead in a cautious and informed way," said Radomski, who also is a professor of integrative biology and pharmacology at the UT Medical School at Houston.

Nanoparticles so tiny that they are measured in billionths of a meter pass easily through the lungs and into the bloodstream, Radomski said, where they can interact with platelets. They also tend to aggregate on their own, a property that could also enhance blood clotting.

"Medical evidence has been accumulating mainly from ep
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Contact: Scott Merville
scott.merville@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3042
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
21-Oct-2005


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