Recent research indicates that nanoparticles of pure gold discovered in common items, like personal cosmetics products (along with solar cells and MRI contrast drug delivery agents) can hinder fat (adipose) storage and produce accelerated wrinkles and aging. Also, these particles can slow down injury healing and cause diabetes. This work is detailed in the journal Nanotoxicology.
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The research team tested what effect nanoparticles in vitro had on several kinds of cells, such as the fat (adipose) tissue, to find out whether their normal functions were hindered when they were exposed to extremely low nanoparticle doses. Subcutaneous adipose tissue serves as insulation from the cold, and as a nutrient reserve. Furthermore, it is discovered around internal organs, for extra padding, in breast tissue and yellow bone marrow.
The team found that the stromal cells, which are derived from human adipose (a kind of adult stem cell), were easily immediately penetrated by gold nanoparticles, and that these particles built up inside the cells, without any clear pathway for eradication. The existence of these particles hindered several cell functions, like cell division (replication), collagen contraction and movement. These processes are vital to injury healing.
Significant Potential Harm
The research team reported that the most alarming discovery was that these particles impacted on RNA expression, genetic regulation and obstructed the body’s ability to differentiate between fat cells and mature adipocytes. Also, this study is the first to prove the effect of nanoparticles on stem cells in adults. These cells are the cells used by the body for the continuous regeneration of organs. The study showed that stromal cells, derived from adipose, which are responsible for multiple organ regeneration (including nerve, skin, hair and bone), ignored necessary cues and did not differentiate following nanoparticle exposure. Moreover, when gold nanoparticles were present, adiponectin was reduced. This protein is responsible for fatty acid breakdown and glucose level regulation, which facilitates metabolism control.
Nanotechnology remains at the forefront of clinical research, and it has opened up new doorways in materials and energy science. Inevitably, social responsibility and progress go hand in hand, as new technologies have to be environmentally friendly. By all accounts, the test results above are pivotal to accomplishing this.
The MRSEC or the National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers and Polymer Programs funded the research on cellular toxicity, led by Stony Brook University, in cooperation with the New York State Stem Cell Science.