How do small molecules produced in the laboratory behave when they are inside human cells? The answer comes from an Italian study coordinated by Cnr-Isof in Bologna, the Institute for Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity of the National Research Council.
The study observed the formation of organic nanostructures inside human cells, understanding their growth mechanism. The work, published in ‘Advanced Materials’ and conducted in collaboration with several Cnr groups, Politecnico di Milano, the University of Bologna, and the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Milan and Pisa, promises “significant implications in various fields.
In medicine,” for example, “it lays the groundwork for the development of innovative therapies for tissue regeneration based on nanomaterials.”
“After over 10 years of interdisciplinary studies,”Francesca Di Maria
Francesca Di Maria, a researcher at Cnr-Isof, “we have observed the extraordinary ability of certain organic molecules to ‘self-assemble’ into fibrous crystalline structures (fibrils) inside human cells without compromising their vitality, and forming highly organized structures with electrical conduction properties.”
Using state-of-the-art cellular imaging and microscopy techniques, the researchers investigated the growth mechanism of one of the molecules central to the study, called Dtto.
“The structures formed through self-assembly processes inside the cells,” explains Guglielmo Lanzani of IIT, “are capable of crossing the cell membrane, facilitating contact between different cells and adapting to their movement: this self-organization mechanism is unprecedented and has significant implications in various fields. For example, it opens up new prospects for the development of therapies based on the stimulation and regulation of cellular interactions.
It could also enable significant progress in tissue engineering, allowing the creation of functional three-dimensional cellular structures.”
According to the authors, “the use of these organic molecules represents only a first step within a vast field of research on self-organization properties inside cells, and lays the foundation for further studies and potential applications in the field of cellular biology and regenerative medicine.”
“Our team,” concludes Francesca Di Maria of Cnr-Isof, “is already engaged in studying the potential of Dtto fibrils and exploring new organic compounds with similar properties. The goal is to fully understand the mechanisms underlying these organized structures to fully exploit their benefits for human health.”
Original source: This information was Initially covered by Adnkronos.com and has been translated for our readers.