Chinese researchers have found that the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can be effectively suppressed with small gold nanoparticles. The scientists’ findings were published in the journal Fundamental Research.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are types of inflammatory bowel disease. With these processes, a person may develop diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, mouth ulcers, and other symptoms. Currently, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, so existing therapy is aimed at reducing the inflammatory process. Anti-inflammatory drugs are also used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, but in some cases the patient may be operated on.
Researchers have developed an approach that suppresses inflammation and normalizes the functioning of the intestinal mucosa using a set of nanoparticles. These are spherical structures with a diameter of 25 nanometers, consisting of gold atoms.
It turned out that nanoparticles actively interact with hydrogen peroxide molecules, single oxygen atoms and other chemically aggressive molecules that accumulate in the intestines of patients. The researchers suggested that they could be used to suppress symptoms.
To do this, scientists have developed a technique that allows the synthesis of nanoparticles at room temperature. The team tested these structures on cells in the gut and the immune system. Experiments have shown that gold nanospheres suppressed inflammation and also increased the activity of enzymes associated with the production of natural antioxidant molecules.
“Our nanoparticles suppressed inflammation in the intestinal tissues for more than 24 hours. Their main advantage is that these nanostructures can be taken orally, which saves patients and doctors from the need to perform various invasive procedures,” said Sun Yat-sen, a researcher at the university. Guangzhou (China) Wang Feiwhose words are quoted by the press service of the magazine.
Experiments on healthy mice and rodents suffering from ulcerative colitis showed that the nanoparticles did not cause negative reactions from the immune system of mice, and also successfully suppressed inflammation in the intestines of sick rodents.
The researchers believe these nanoparticles could provide a safer, longer-lasting alternative to the anti-inflammatory drugs currently in use.