A recent study by Texas A & M University has recognized the vital roles minerals can play in the regulation of gene expression. Published in Science Advances, a crucial study of this kind can help researchers understand and develop a way to assemble the minerals to design the next generation of mineral medicine.
These could potentially heal damaged tissues and help in the effective treatment of patients.
How can minerals heal damaged tissue?
The Department of Biomedical Engineering and the College of Medicine at the university collaborated to find that minerals can regulate genes and control the quantity of proteins a human cell shall synthesize. It paves the way for the regeneration of tissues and redefinition of cellular identity, which ultimately helps in the tissue healing process.
Inorganic minerals elements work closely with enzymes, hormones, proteins, and other nutritional substances to balance the biological functions of our bodies. The minerals play a crucial role in regulating the functions of the body and help heal damaged tissues.
What are nano silicate particles?
As per a report published in Business Standard, the nano silicates are disc-like mineral nanoparticles of size 20-30 nanometers in diameter and 1-2 nanometers in thickness. They are extremely bio-compatible so that cells can eat them up readily. Dr Akhilesh Gaharwar and Dr Irtisha Singh conducted the study in collaboration to understand the role of nanoparticles in stem cell differentiation.
The study brought to light a novel type of mineral-based nanoparticles that can help navigate our stem cells to our bone cells. With nanoparticles, known as nano silicates, the team of researchers could study the specific roles the minerals play in managing gene expression. They could then redirect the information for further differentiation of stem cells.
Role of nano silicates in healing damaged tissue?
The highly biocompatible nano silicates start to disintegrate as soon as it goes into the cell body and form silicon, lithium, and magnesium. The dissociation leads to an information flow within the cells that spread in the form of signaling pathways. The pathways instruct cells to perform specific functions like producing tissue-particular proteins called extracellular matrix to begin the healing process.
Anna Brokesh and Lauren Cross, who are the chief authors of the study, combined interdisciplinary techniques, genome methods, and biomedical engineering for the research. They used the techniques to determine and characterize the specific genes that get activated by the signaling pathways.
What is the significance of the study?
The report as published in Business Standard said that the study finds that nano silicate minerals which include magnesium, silicon, and lithium, induce a process known as endochondral ossification that transforms stem cells into hard and soft tissues, for example, bones and cartilages in young people.
Studying the potential of minerals in cellular regulation has high scope in clinical therapeutics for regenerative medicine, drug delivery, and immunomodulation, according to the chief researcher, Dr Akhilesh Gaharwar. The study opens a wider scope for understanding the impact of minerals at the cellular level and directing them for the healing process.