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Nanoplastics can affect gut and brain cells

Nanoplastics can affect gut and brain cells

Portuguese research warns that nanoplastics can cross the body's cell membranes, interfere with receptors and activate inflammatory processes.

You NanoplasticsIt is one of the major environmental pollutants, especially water, that can affect… Intestinal and brain cells And stimulate inflammatory responses in Human bodyAccording to a study released Thursday by the MARE Center for Marine and Environmental Sciences.

The work directed by Joana Antunes, PhD student at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the Nova University of Lisbon (NOVA FCT) and researcher at MARE, was carried out within the scope of the Nanoplastox project, coordinated by the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon. University of Lisbon (FFUL).

Small plastic particles, which “may be present.” Its dimensions are 70 times smaller than the diameter of a hair“And they” can cross Cell membranes A says statement Released by MARE.

Joanna Antunes exposed several types of cells to nanoplastics, which are cells from Human colon And cells Mouse microgliaThey are cells in the central nervous system that have an immune function, to understand their inflammatory responses, which is a vital function for defending the body.

The study showed that “nanoplastics have the potential to do this They interfere with receptors located on intestinal cell membranes Thus activating it Inflammatory processes Which may eventually change the permeability Intestinal barrier“In the case of brain cells, the inflammatory response was less pronounced.

Although noting that “the consequences of the responses observed in this study are not yet clear,” the scientists point out that “uncontrolled or chronic inflammation is associated with more serious diseases such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, and an increased risk of cancer.” .

In a new phase of research, “a mixture of these nanoplastics will be analyzed with other pollutants already present in the environment, such as benzopyrene, a hydrocarbon (from petroleum) found in tobacco smoke.”

It was the study published In the scientific journal Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology.

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