Kristin L. Rennie

University of New Hampshire

Animal Science


Mentor: Dr. Thomas L. Foxall, Associate Professor of Animal & Nutritional Sciences

In Vitro Testing of a Novel Transport Particle for Drug Delivery Across the Blood Brain Barrier

The capillary endothelial cells that compose the blood brain barrier are a relatively impermeable selective barrier between the blood and brain tissue. The capillary cell barrier maintains a homeostatic environment for the brain while keeping out foreign substances. Pharmaceuticals, such as oncolytic drugs and antibiotics, are also prevented by the endothelial cell barrier from reaching the brain.

It was the purpose of this study to test a novel transport material to traverse this barrier. A nanometer sized iron based Partisome was tested for efficacy to move through both a model of the blood brain barrier (MDCK cells), aortic endothelial cells, and rat brain microvascular cells in vitro. The Partisome is composed of a magnetic iron crystal core with an organic coating that mimics cell membranes. Preliminary studies with MDCK cells showed passage of the Partisome through a cell monolayer. Scanning electron microscopy indicated the presence of Partisomes on aortic endothelial cells in vitro and work is in progress to assess whether or not there was uptake or transport through the cells. The rat brain capillary endothelial cells were isolated using a procedure that involves mincing, enzymatic digest, and density gradient separation. These microvascular cells were positively characterized as endothelial cells.

Further investigations in cell transport will involve the endothelial cells, the non-permeable oncolytic drug Doxorubicin, and the Partisome as a carrier of the drug. It is hoped that the Partisome will be effective in using this drug to cross the blood brain barrier.

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