How nanoparticles from the environment enter the brain

A group of scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences (ICG SB RAS) and the TSU Biological Institute has established a path through which nanoparticles of viruses and organic and inorganic substances from the environment enter the brain. Additionally, the researchers report a simple and inexpensive way to block their entry. The data obtained by the project could play a large role in medicine and pharmaceuticals, where nanoparticles are increasingly used for the diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases. 

"There are a large number of nanoparticles of a wide variety of chemical elements and their compounds in the environment, ranging from harmless to toxic, for example, heavy metal oxides," says Mikhail Moshkin, director of the Center for Laboratory Animal Genetic Resources of the ICG SB RAS. "Scientists have accumulated data that indicate the adverse effect of nanoparticles, for example, people who live closer than 50 meters to large highways may develop neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and others) due to the accumulation of nanosized particles in the brain."

The researchers sought to determine how nanoparticles enter the brain. They cannot penetrate through the lungs and blood vessels because the blood-brain barrier blocks them from the brain. Experiments conducted on rodents helped calculate the trajectory of the movement of nanoparticles. 

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