(ORDO NEWS) — Fullerenes are unique molecules – “soccer balls” consisting of many carbon atoms. Scientists continue to find new biomedical applications for these “carbon polyhedra”. This time, fullerene C60 helped heal wounds and burns in laboratory animals.
Carbon is a chemical element at the basis of all organic substances and, therefore, life on Earth. In addition, in its pure form, it forms inorganic substances – a number of so-called allotropic forms of carbon.
People have long known coal, diamond and graphite, which are very different in physical properties, but at the molecular level differ only in the mutual arrangement of carbon atoms.
Later, more complex allotropic modifications of carbon were discovered – the famous graphene and, long before that, lonsdaleite and fullerenes.
Fullerenes (including the “ancestor” of this group – buckminsterfullerene) are named after Richard Buckminster Fuller – the famous American architect, engineer and thinker. Among his futuristic creations are “geodesic domes”, structures in the form of polyhedrons assembled from many identical segments.
o when, at the end of the 20th century, chemists impressed by Fuller’s hangars obtained a new form of carbon from 60 atoms (C60), they gave such substances a modern name. Also because of the shape, fullerenes are often compared to a soccer ball.
Later, these compounds were also discovered in nature, including in the atmosphere (formed during lightning discharges), in minerals like shungite, and even in deep space.
Curious in themselves, fullerenes are attracting more and more attention as a promising material (for example, as semiconductors) and in connection with unique biological properties. Thus, the most studied fullerene C60 has a pronounced antioxidant , anti-inflammatory, antiviral and even anti-allergic effect.
Using an environmentally friendly technology for the synthesis of fullerene C60 and having obtained a suspension of this compound in water, they were able to give it a convenient form of ointment.
The drug was used in standard experiments on mice with damaged skin – surgical cuts and chemical burns. The authors wanted to find out how the fullerene ointment would affect wound healing in comparison with the commonly used Bepanthen plus and Dexpentanol in such cases.
As a result, 12 days after the surgical injury, fullerene turned out to be the most effective (wounds treated with it healed the fastest ). In the case of a chemical burn, it accelerated healing as well as “Dexpentanol”.
To understand the mechanism of this effect, the researchers turned their attention to molecular changes in healing tissues.
It turned out that fullerene ointment increased the concentration of amphoterin (an anti-inflammatory cytokine), increased the activity of vascular endothelial growth factor and reduced the synthesis of pro-inflammatory factors.
“Together, these results indicate that an aqueous dispersion of C60 fullerene may have great potential in the treatment of surgical and chemical wounds,” the scientists are convinced .
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