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Drug-loaded nanoparticles may prevent paralysis from spinal cord injury

Date: 14.2.2024 

Sustaining a spinal cord injury (SCI) is devastating enough, but the subsequent inflammation and the damage it causes to the spinal cord can worsen the clinical outcome. This secondary injury can develop over time and lead to paraplegia or quadriplegia that may not have been present at the time of the primary injury.

Kredit: Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research.Research has shown that in the first days after SCI, microglial cells are activated and proliferate, causing secondary injury via the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These cells and their cytokines activate destructive astrocyte cells that further exacerbate inflammation. Microglia and astrocytes are subtypes of glial cells, the non-neuronal cells of the brain and nervous system.

Developing effective immune-based therapies that selectively target glial cells has been challenging. However, researchers at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Milan, have developed novel nanogel-based nanoparticles that target these cells and release an active compound that reduces inflammation.

The nanoparticles were synthesized using polymers and loaded with the drug Rolipram, a phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor, before being placed into a nanogel carrier. PDE4 regulates the body’s production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The resultant drug-loaded nanoparticles had a mean diameter of 168 nm.

Image source: Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research.





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