Thursday, June 6, 2013
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High-density lipoprotein (HDL)-mimicking nanoparticles to detect
vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques
In vitro and rat studies identified synthetic, HDL-mimicking
nanoparticles that could help detect vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques,
which can rupture and cause fatal blood clots. The nanoparticles consist of a
acid) (PLGA) core, cholesteryl oleate and
quantum dots plus a phospholipid bilayer containing an apolipoprotein
mimetic and triphenylphosphonium. The nanoparticles accumulated
in healthy macrophages but not in apoptotic macrophages, which creates a
contrast between the two populations during fluorescence imaging. Apoptotic
macrophages are associated with vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. In rats,
the nanoparticles also decreased total cholesterol and triglyceride levels
compared with vehicle, which suggests a potential therapeutic benefit. Next
steps include testing the nanoparticles in animal models for atherosclerosis.
Published online June 6, 2013
Patented; available for
Marrache, S. & Dhar, S.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online May 13, 2013;
Contact: Shanta Dhar, The University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
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