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Carbon nanoparticles stimulate blood clotting, researchers report

idemiological studies that exposure of humans to particulate matter, and to very small particles, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease," Radomski said. "The mechanisms of that risk are not well-known. Clot formation is my research interest, and we wanted to look at the effect of nanoparticles both the pollutants caused by combustion, and engineered nanoparticles that might be used in various nanomedical devices such as improved drug delivery systems."

In a paper posted online last month ahead of publication, the team compared the impact of standard urban particulate matter, mixed carbon nanoparticles, "bucky balls," single-wall carbon nanotubes, and multiple wall carbon nanotubes on human platelet clumping and thrombosis in rats.

In both experiments, the mixed carbon nanoparticles had the most impact, provoking the greatest degree of platelet aggregation and the most dramatic reduction of carotid blood flow in the rats. The single-wall carbon nanotubes ranked second, the multiple wall nanotubes third and the standard urban particulate matter fourth in both experiments.

These four types of nanoparticles also were shown to activate a receptor on platelets that is vital to their aggregation the glycoprotein integrin receptor. This seems to be the underlying mechanism for the nanoparticle's effects, the researchers note, but each nanoparticle employed a different molecular pathway to activate the receptor.

Bucky balls had virtually no effect. Nanotubes appear to mimic molecular bridges involved in platelet interactions while the bucky balls do not. This gives the spherical, less adhesive bucky balls a potential advantage in the design of nanopharmaceutical devices for targeted drug delivery or imaging systems, the researchers note.

The impact of mixed carbon nanotubes and standard urban particulates suggests a risk of thrombosis from airborne pollution, in addition to the risk of atherosclerosis and heart attack.
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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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