Research highlight

Keeping the carbon-nanotube blood flowing

Nature Nanotechnology

January 31, 2011

Amine-modified single-walled carbon nanotubes (a-SWCN’s) reduce tissue damage in the brain in a rat model of stroke, suggests a paper online this week in Nature Nanotechnology. The work lays the foundation for further studies to discover the potential protective effects of single-walled carbon-nanotubes against ischemic injury caused by stroke.

Transplanting scaffolds containing stem cells into areas of the brain that have been injured by stroke has previously been proposed as a treatment strategy. Carbon nanotubes have been investigated as potential scaffolds for stem cell therapy because of their favourable electrical properties. Sung Su Kim and colleagues pre-treated rats with a-SWCN's before inducing an ischemic injury and found that pre-treated animals had smaller volumes of damaged brain tissue and better motor function than untreated rats. Mechanistic studies suggest that the a-SWCN's protected the tissues from injury by limiting cell death and inflammation.

News and Views author Matthew Walters stresses that for a-SWCN’s to be clinically viable, the mechanism and benefits must be shown to remain relevant when the nanotubes are administered after the onset of stroke symptoms.

doi: 10.1038/nano.2010.281

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