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How to see tissues better? A new JU invention

A new fluorescent marker used to dye collagens and to observe them in tissues was invented by a team of researchers led by professor Jerzy Dobrucki from the JU Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology with a close collaboration of professor Zbigniew Darżynkiewicz from New York Medical College, reports   the Ministry of Science and Higher Education Web site:. The UJ Centre for Innovations, Technology Transfer and University Development (CITTRU) has been promoting the invention and searching for institutions and companies potentially interested in its use.

According to the Polish Press Agency, professor Dobrucki said that "contrary to the existing practice, thanks to the new marker we will be able to examine live and isolated, but intact, tissues."

Dr Dominik Czaplicki, a CITTRU representative responsible for commercial application of university inventions, said that "to dye collagen and elastin the researchers have used a solution of fluorescent probe, which penetrates the tissue. Collagen, elastin and the marker do not bind permanently, which makes it possible to remove the marker. Live cells need a very special treatment - the dyeing process should be non-invasive and the marker cannot be toxic."

The new marker may be used in modern medical diagnosis and in cosmetic industry. It was submitted to the Polish Patent Office.

More on the marker can be found in promotional materials prepared by the CITTRU:

"Collagen is a protein of matrix metalloproteinases, which is the main protein component of mammal organisms. It occurs in about 30 variants and physiologically it is responsible for tissue mechanical resistance and it has an impact on adhesion, migration, proliferation and metabolism of tissue cells. Collagen denaturation occurs when organisms age and leads to the loss of tissue mechanical resistance, whereas congenital disorders in its synthesis lead to serious illnesses, such as epidermolysis bullosa, bullous pemphigoid, Alport syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and others. Therapeutically, collagen is used to produce tissue substitutes which help damaged tissues regenerate and regulate tissue cells proliferation, differentiation and morphogensis.

Polymerized collagen produces fibers in animal tissues, which are responsible for tissue mechanical integrity and play a role in embryogenesis, wound healing, aging and other key biological processes, as well as in many medical conditions. Detection and examination of collagen fibers with the use of a fluorescent marker can be applied in medical diagnosis and scientific research. Collagen fibers microscope detection can be applied in the examination of matrix metalloproteinases and tissue substitutes. The new technology allows to observe collagens in vivo in undamaged and fixed tissues, as well as in other materials containing collagen.

Most of the existing methods of marking collagens cannot be used to dye living tissues, whereas non-toxic methods (like autoflorescence) are non-specific or require expensive equipment. The new fluorescent marker is the only one which enables a specific visualization and examination of a 3-D structure of collagen fibers in situ in living tissues. Dyeing collagens with the new marker consists in creating a noncovalent bond and results in selective fluorescence of collagen-rich structures, both in living and fixed tissues, which allows to render high-resolution images or to make microscopic and cytometric measurements, like fluorescent and confocal microscopy, laser scanning cytometry, flow cytometry and the like.

The fluorescent marker has been submitted to the Polish Patent Office and its characteristics have been confirmed experimentally, not only by dyeing single fibrils of polymerized collagen in vitro, but also by examining specific bonds in collagen fibers in living tissues, such as the surface of the skeletal muscle and in blood vessels.
Furthermore, the marker's use has been confirmed in examining materials by visualizing structure of the biomaterial which contains collagen and which is used to treat burns.

Further studies of the new technology has been carried out at the JU Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology. The UJ Centre for Innovations, Technology Transfer and University Development has been looking for institutions and companies interested in obtaining a license to use the new technology.


See more at: http://www.cittru.uj.edu.pl/?q=pl/node/1186

Published Date: 24.05.2010
Published by: Łukasz Stadnicki
Uniwersytet Jagielloński

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