Mohali institute scientists formulate nanoparticle to reduce severity of rheumatoid arthritis

Particles contain chitosan and zinc gluconate

Mohali institute scientists formulate nanoparticle to reduce severity of rheumatoid arthritis

Institute of Nano Science and Technology.

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12

Scientists from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, have formulated nano-particles with a zinc-based compound that will help reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis.

The particles contain chitosan and zinc gluconate. Zinc is vital for maintaining normal bone homeostasis and its levels are reported to get reduced in rheumatoid arthritis patients. It is also known that oral supplementation of zinc in the form of zinc gluconate has very low bioavailability in humans.  

Chitosan is a biocompatible, biodegradable natural polysaccharide (a carbohydrate whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together). It is one of the most abundant biopolymers obtained from the exoskeleton of crustaceans (crab, lobster, shrimp, etc) have shown absorption promoting characteristics.

The INST team particularly chose chitosan as it is biodegradable, biocompatible, non-toxic, and muco-adhesive in nature. A previously published report in the journal ‘Magnesium Research’ exhibited that after intraperitoneal administration in rats, zinc oxide in standard form resulted in a slight increase in serum zinc level, whereas that in nano form resulted in significantly high serum zinc levels, thus increasing the zinc bioavailability. This motivated the INST team to develop the nanoformulation of zinc gluconate.

They prepared Zinc gluconate loaded chitosan nanoparticles using chitosan and sodium tripolyphosphate in double-distilled water and zinc gluconate was simultaneously added along with the synthesis of chitosan nanoparticles. These were characterised for various physicochemical properties and then anti-arthritic potential was investigated against collagen-induced arthritis in rats.

They observed that the treatment of rats with both zinc gluconate and zinc gluconate loaded chitosan nanoparticles reduced the severity of arthritis by reducing joint swelling, erythema, and edema.

The team assessed various parameters like biochemical analysis, histological observations, and immunohistochemical expression of inflammatory markers and suggested that zinc gluconate-loaded chitosan nanoparticles exerted superior therapeutic effects compared to the free form of zinc gluconate. This was attributed to the inflammatory potential of zinc gluconate-loaded chitosan nanoparticles.

“Nanobiotechnology provides several effective solutions for the problems that traditional pharmaceutical formulations are often not able to address as effectively, such as sustained and targeted release of drugs, bioavailability, and efficacy of drugs and nutraceuticals, etc. The nanoformulation of zinc gluconate-loaded chitosan nanoparticles developed at INST Mohali is a creative example of a superior therapeutics for rheumatoid arthritis,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology.

In the recent past, ionic gelation method has been widely employed for formulating chitosan nanoparticles, which may contain various medicinally active pharmacological agents.

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