Synthesis and Characterisation of Dual Functional Nanoparticles for Probing the Role of Reactive Oxygen Species in Cellular Function

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Pharmacy


The proposal concerns the synthesis and characterisation of dual functional nanoparticles for studying the response of cells to Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS have been implicated in ageing, heart disease, and recently, in the onset of Alzheimer's disease. The nanoparticles will contain a dye which responds to changes in calcium ions. Calcium ions are an important species which the cell uses to send messages from one site to another. Our dual functional nanoparticles will have the ability to sense changes in calcium ions in their immediate environment within the cell, but what differentiates them from other similar species is the ability to generate bursts of ROS when excited with light. The ROS generating component will be attached to the nanoparticles after they are formed and are composed of molecules called porphyrins. The ability to generate ROS by porphyrins is currently exploited in the Photodynamic Therapy of diseases such as cancer and age related macular degeneration. By changing the chemical structure of the porphyrins and then attaching them to the nanoparaticle we also plan to cause them to accumulate at important structures within the cells, such as the mitochondria. Currently, no similar tools are available for studying ROS in cells and it is anticipated that the successful development of our system will generate important new data relating to how cells respond to ROS.


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Description Nanoparticles capable of generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) were synthesised and delivered to mesenchymal stem cells. By modulating the amount of photo-sensitiser on the surface of the nanoparticles or the duration or power of the excitation light the amount of ROS generated could be controlled. We were able to show that different amounts of ROS induced differing cellular responses.
Exploitation Route The technology developed will be useful in better understanding disease progression under conditions of oxidative stress.
Sectors Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description The findings have not been used as yet, other than as preliminary data to attract collaborators to investigate disease related phenomena.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal