Quantum dots in brain could treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases

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Quantum dots could break up proteins within the mind that trigger Parkinson’s illness

Could C. Schiess, Roger Again, UT Medical College/Science Picture Library

Tiny particles referred to as quantum dots scale back signs in mice primed to develop a kind of Parkinson’s illness, and in addition block formation of the poisonous protein clumps in Alzheimer’s. They might at some point be a novel remedy for these mind issues, though exams in individuals are some years away.

Quantum dots are  just some nanometres in dimension – so small they grow to be topic to a number of the unusual results of quantum physics. They’ve helpful digital and fluorescent properties and are present in some TV screens and LED lights.

In contrast to most medication, their tiny dimension means they’ll move from bloodstream into the mind. Byung Hee Hong of Seoul Nationwide College within the South Korea and his colleagues questioned if they might have an effect on the molecules concerned in Parkinson’s or different mind issues.


Parkinson’s illness entails steadily worsening tremors and motion issues. It’s regarded as brought on by a protein referred to as synuclein present in nerve cells folding into the improper form, which triggers a sequence response of misfolding in close by synuclein molecules. This results in a build-up of lengthy strands or “fibrils” of the protein, killing neurons.

Quantum shock

Hong’s group discovered that in a dish, quantum dots created from graphene – a type of carbon – bind to synuclein, and never solely cease it from clumping into fibres, but in addition trigger present fibres to interrupt up into particular person molecules. “We didn’t anticipate the quantum dots to induce disaggregation of fibrils,” says Hong.

Subsequent the group injected quantum dots into mice dosed with fibrils, which usually set off steadily worsening motion issues. Six months later, the mice confirmed enchancment on two totally different bodily exams.

If the remedy impacts individuals the identical manner, Hong says it’s unclear how a lot profit this convey. “It’s arduous to translate the leads to mice to precise sufferers, whose methods are far more sophisticated. However we do consider quantum dots could make constructive impacts to some extent.”

One other group has discovered that quantum dots present promise for Alzheimer’s illness; in a similar way, they bind to a protein referred to as amyloid, and scale back it from clumping collectively, a course of regarded as concerned on this dementia. Nevertheless exams in an animal model of Alzheimer’s haven’t but been reported.

“This could be a common impact on any sort of fibrillation course of associated to illness,” says Hong. His group is investigating utilizing quantum dots in Alzheimer’s and motor neuron illness – the situation that affected Stephen Hawking – which additionally entails protein clumping.

Sebastien Paillusson of King’s School London, who was not concerned within the work, says the findings in mice are promising, however mustn’t elevate anybody’s hopes till the strategy has been examined in individuals. “Sadly in Parkinson’s there have been a variety of compounds proven to work in mice however not in people.”

Paillusson added, although, that it was uncommon for something to reverse the fibre-forming course of. “It is a very novel strategy.”

Hong says if security exams in animals go properly, they hope to begin trials in individuals in about two years.

Journal reference: Nature Nanotechnology, DOI: 10.1038/s41565-018-0179-y

Extra on these subjects:

Supply hyperlink – https://www.newscientist.com/article/2173740-quantum-dots-in-brain-could-treat-parkinsons-and-alzheimers-diseases/?utm_campaign=RSSpercent7CNSNS&utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_content=well being&campaign_id=RSSpercent7CNSNS-health

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