As advances in nanotechnology continue to open up therapeutic options for a variety of conditions, it is becoming increasingly important to have in vivo platforms for screening how potential nanomedicines can influence the body once injected. Atherosclerosis is a particularly important example of a disease that can benefit from nanomedicine, or one that may influence how nanomedicines are able to enter the blood stream.
In order to study these interactions, researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a microfluidic device that includes a passage covered with endothelial cells. A membrane on the bottom of the channel keeps the endothelial cells in position, while allowing nanoparticles that managed to pass through the layer to drop into a lower channel.
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On their microchip, scientists can control the permeability of the endothelial cell layer by altering the rate of blood flow across the cells or by introducing a chemical that is released by the body during inflammation. The researchers discovered that the permeability of the cells on the microchip correlated well with the permeability of microvessels in a large animal model of atherosclerosis.
The microchips allows for precise control of the mechanical and chemical environment around the living cells. By using the microchip, the researchers can create physiologically relevant conditions to cells by altering the rate of blood flow across the cells or by introducing a chemical that is released by the body during inflammation.
Study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Probing nanoparticle translocation across the permeable endothelium in experimental atherosclerosis…