Remote-controlled enzyme will accelerate the treatment of strokes and spinal injuries


In strokes and spinal injuries, in addition to direct damage to nerve fibers, secondary processes associated with initial damage are also dangerous – overproduction of free radicals and developing inflammation of tissues. An international team of scientists offers a solution based on the superoxide dismutase enzyme. He acts as a natural “trap” of free radicals. Learn more

International scientific team of scientists of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, NUST “MISiS”, University of North Carolina (USA) and Tambov State University. G.R. Derzhavina has developed an innovative therapeutic complex based on polymer nanoparticles of the superoxide dismutase antioxidant enzyme.

The activity of such particles can be “controlled” using a uniform low-frequency alternating magnetic field, enhancing the therapeutic effect, if necessary. The technology can be used for effective rehabilitation of patients after acute spinal cord injuries, strokes and heart attacks and other pathologies accompanied by inflammatory processes.
The results are published in an international scientific journal. Scientific Reports.

The researchers created a unique particle with an enzyme molecule – superoxide dismutase (SOD1) inside the polymer “coat” and magnetite as a “control center”. It has a size of about 100 nanometers in diameter and is capable of trapping free radicals inside and neutralizing them according to the “reusable trap” principle. In their work, the developers for the first time demonstrated that magnetite nanoparticles in a capsule provide the possibility of remote and controlled activation polyine complex SOD1.


Superoxide dismutase molecule

In case of spinal injuries and strokes, in addition to direct damage to nerve fibers, secondary processes associated with initial damage are also dangerous – overproduction of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) and developing inflammation.

On impact, in the case of a spinal injury, or rupture of a vessel in the event of a stroke (stopping blood flow during arterial spasm or clogging with a heart attack), hypoxia occurs in the tissues closest to the organ, a pathological process associated with a lack of oxygen. This blocks the final link of the respiratory chain in the cells and causes the formation of an excessive amount of free radicals. They, in turn, have a destructive effect on cell membranes and trigger a chain of reactions leading to damage and death of cells and tissues. These complications lead to additional damage to the spinal cord and the death of neurons, exacerbating the clinical picture.

“One of the possible solutions to the problem of the pathological formation of free radicals in case of acute spinal injury or stroke, as well as other pathologies accompanied by inflammation, could be delivery to the lesion site of a therapeutic drug complex based on synthesized magnetic nanoparticles containing a natural absorber of free radicals – an antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD1), – told Professor, Department of Chemistry, Moscow State University Lomonosov, deputy. Head of the Laboratory “Chemical Design of Bionanomaterials”, Doctor of Chemical Sciences Natalya Klyachko.

Prompt delivery of such a substance to a damaged organ can alleviate oxidative stress against the background of an excess of free radicals and stop the tissue destruction process. However, a significant problem is the instability of the SOD1 enzyme in the bloodstream upon intravenous administration to the patient: it is rapidly destroyed, not having time to carry out its “work” to neutralize free radicals.

“In order to create a stable therapeutic complex based on SOD1, we developed the catalytically active superoxide dismutase nanoforms, the so-called“ nanowires, ”and modified them with magnetite nanoparticles,” explains one of the authors of the development, Head of the Laboratory “Biomedical Nanomaterials” NUST “MISiS”, Ph.D. Maxim Abakumov. Magnetite in the composition of such a multilayer polyionic complex SOD1 makes it possible, using the action of a low-frequency alternating magnetic field, to “control” the release of the enzyme in the area of ​​injury. “

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Maxim Abakumov

The team is currently preparing for the start of the preclinical development phase.

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