bee venom

‘Plastic antibodies’ developed halts spread of deadly bee venom in mice.

In a breakthrough study, researchers at UC Irvine have developed the first “plastic antibodies” and successfully introduced them into the blood of mice to halt the spread of deadly bee venom.

Researchers from the University of California at Irvine who worked on the project along with scientists from Stanford University and Japan’s University of Shizuoka, created nanoparticle-size plastic polymers to encase melittin, a toxic peptide in bee venom that causes cells to rupture. Large quantities of melittin can lead to organ failure and death.

They injected one group of mice with a lethal dose of melittin, and then injected them with the plastic antibodies.

The nanoparticles succeeded in “capturing” the antigens before they could disperse, thus reducing deaths among the mice, which also fared well in the weeks following the jab, according to UCI professor Kenneth Shea. Mice in a control group injected with the toxin but not the antibodies did not survive. “Never before have synthetic antibodies been shown to effectively function in the bloodstream of living animals,” Shea said. “This technique could be utilized to make plastic nanoparticles designed to fight more lethal toxins and pathogens.”

Antibodies are the proteins produced by the immune system to neutralize foreign threats like infections, allergens, viruses and bacteria. In the case of allergies our immune systems can be unequipped to deal with certain antigens.

To counter these shortcomings, the experts took plastic nanoparticles that had shown the ability to mimic antibodies. They used molecular imprinting to stamp the shape of the antigen melittin, the primary toxin in bee venom, onto the antibody. By imprinting tiny antigen-shaped craters into the individual particles, the plastic antibodies were then finely tuned to attach themselves to those antigens in the blood.

Via Times of India