|A peculiar type of nanoparticle was found to mimic the biological activity of enzymes in living organisms, displaying powerful antioxidant activity / Photo by: Rawpixel via Pixabay|
A peculiar type of nanoparticle was found to mimic the biological activity of enzymes in living organisms, displaying powerful antioxidant activity.
For years, a team of researchers in Italy tailored microscopic inorganic materials and studied their behavior. At a microscopic level, some of these nanoparticles showed magnetic properties while others gave off electrical stimuli, Nano Magazine explains.
One odd nanoparticle, called ceramic particles or nanoceria, was chemically engineered in a laboratory and demonstrated—as stated—significant antioxidant activity. The magazine says the nanoparticles are labeled in fluorescent green, the nucleus of each cell in blue, and the cell skeleton or cytoskeleton is highlighted in red.
According to Nano Magazine, nanoceria particles may have the key to fighting off chronic diseases since they were found to be able to protect organisms from the damage stirred oxidative stress.
The magazine defines oxidative stress as "an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell damage." It naturally occurs and is one of the players in the aging process, as well as pathological conditions such as heart failure, muscle atrophy, and Parkinson's disease.
Fighting this natural wear could be done with the intake of antioxidants—cells capable of preventing or slowing down damage to other cells due to free radicals.
An experiment sent to the International Space Station in 2017 showed that nanoceria particles maintained stability and even provided protection to the muscle cells. The magazine says the nanoparticle could act as an antioxidant agent with effects that can last for up to several weeks—a lot longer compared to supplements in pharmacies.
It adds that the Nano Antioxidants project is now ready to be launched on SpaceX Dragon supply spacecraft when it travels towards the ISS on Friday. The space station is the perfect scenario to study how muscles cells deteriorate and how they could fight this since long-term exposure to microgravity and radiation boost damage in the cells.