A new technique using DNA origami nanostructures may help treat and prevent acute kidney injury, researchers say.
Acute kidney injury is a condition in which the kidneys suddenly cannot filter waste from the blood and leads to 1.7 million deaths per year globally. The new technique, developed by Arizona State University researchers, involves the use of tiny, self-assembling forms measuring just billionths of a metre in diameter, for treating and preventing acute kidney injury.
The base pairing properties of DNA's four nucleotides are used to engineer and fabricate DNA origami nanostructures (DONs), which self-assemble and preferentially accumulate in kidneys. "This represents a new horizon for DNA nanotechnology research," said Hao Yan, Professor at the varsity.
For the study, appearing in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, Yan and his team prepared a series of DONs. The rectangular nanostructures were particularly successful, protecting the kidneys from harm as effectively as the leading drug therapy and alleviating a leading source of acute kidney injury known as oxidative stress.
Acute kidney illness may be induced through the process of oxidative stress, which results from an increase in oxygen-containing waste products known as reactive oxygen species, that cause damage to lipids, proteins and DNA. But, these nanostructures have the ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species within two hours of incubation, thus providing an increased therapeutic effect compared with traditional therapy, the researchers said.
The treated mice displayed improved kidney excretory function comparable to mice receiving treatment using the mainline drug NAC. Results showed the DONs were non-immunogenetic and tissue staining of heart, liver, spleen lungs and kidney revealed their low toxicity in primary organs, making them attractive candidates for clinical use in humans.