Researchers at Bar-Ilan University use nanotechnology of gold-plated spectropotometric rods to detect killer cells and rescue cells used in the immune system
In a study published this in the journal NANO LETTERS Researchers from Bar-Ilan University have shown a simple solution to the issue of imbalance in the body by the scattering effect using gold nanopicks (GNR). Gold-based nanoparticles are known to have a unique feature of high optical absorption and special light beam scattering. By treating the scattering effect and adjusting the GNR coating, the researchers were able to identify changes in the optical properties of M1 and M2 macrophages, respectively, and use these changes as a measure to monitor physiological changes in the body.
The researchers used flow cytometry to track changes in the GNR-laden macrophage deficits and to identify the GNR’s unique optical scattering. Flow cytometry is a method that is widely used in medicine to identify a population of cells labeled by a fluorescent substance, but in this case it was used for identification without such labeling, but based only on the difference in scattering by gold nanotabs. This unique method allowed researchers to identify a particular type of nano-stick coating that caused greater selectivity of M2 cells compared to M1 cells.
Every biological system is aided by protective mechanisms against pathological processes caused by local, environmental or biochemical changes. It is the white blood cells that play the role of the “police” in our immune system. A particular type of white cell, called macrophages, are the most effective and most specific warriors, and have both the potential of unique identification and the power to repel and neutralize foreign invaders, and in addition they have the ability to heal wounds. Depending on the assignment of their functions, the macrophages are divided into two main types, M1 and M2 cells. M1 cells have specialized as highly effective killing cells, whereas M2 cells are mainly engaged in healing functions.
In the normal state, a state of health, there is a balanced balance between the two types. However, in disease states such as infections by viruses, bacteria or parasites or in inflammatory conditions due to atherosclerosis, cancer or arthritis, the balance between M1 and M2 cells is disturbed and a change occurs in favor of one of the populations, depending on the type of crisis. If such changes could be monitored, they could be a tool for diagnosing and predicting patient conditions. To date, no diagnostic tool has been found that can detect the M1 / M2 ratio that exists between these cells in body fluids or in a blood sample without any labeling of the cells by fluorescence methods.
“Our approach of optical scattering using GNR to detect M1 and M2 macrophages and the distinction between them opens the door to a new pathway for cell recognition by cytometry of flow assisted by increased scattering by nanoparticles embedded within the cell,” said Dr. Rohira Chakraborti, Principal Researcher in Prof. Dror Pixler’s Laboratory at the Copkin Faculty of Engineering and the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University. Prof. Dror Pixler, director of the Institute of Nanotechnology at Bar-Ilan University, who led the study together with Prof. Ran Kornofsky and Dr. Dorit Leshem of Beilinson Hospital, adds: “Further development of this technique will lead us to create a new treatment method or advanced diagnostic tool. Which may predict the stages of progression of diseases such as cancers, atherosclerosis and liposuction through testing of body fluids or simple blood tests. “
This study was supported by the National Science Foundation (ISF) and by the Planning and Funding Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel.
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