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Gold-filled discovery in transplants.

Gold-filled discovery in transplants

Tissue transplantation may have a shining future -- if gold proves to be as precious as recent research on neutral transplants suggests. By filling envelopes made of viruses with colloidal gold and fusing them with nerve cells, scientists at the University of South Florida in Tampa have been able to track the migration of transplanted cells and measure their survival.

Used for years as a cell marker, the gelatin-like colloidal gold is easily distinguished by its yellow or bright white appearance through a microscope. Gary W. Arendash and his co-workers took advantage of gold's shining qualities and devised a model system applicable to transplantation science. As reported in the Feb. 5 SCIENCE, the researchers used a known technique to introduce the gold into cells: They mixed gold with a solution of harmless Sendai viruses that had been broken apart by a detergent. Pieces of the viral envelopes spontaneously regrouped as detergent was removed, forming whole envelopes that contained the gold colloid. Made from a virus that avidly fuses to vertebrate cells, the gold-filled Sendai virus envelopes attached to neural cells that were later transplanted into rats.

By scanning transplanted tissue for signs of gold, the scientists were able to follow the migration of transplanted cells through areas of the rats' brans, and to determine that the transplanted cells survived at least three months. Both location and viability are crucial to understanding the fate of nerve-tissue transplants, which have attracted attention and controversy as potential treatments for conditions like Parkinson's disease (SN: 11/28/87, p.341). Arendash said in an interview that it should be possible to similarly label other types of cells used for transplants, and that the gold/Sendai system might settle the debate over whether adrenal cells transplanted into the brain for treating Parkinson's actually survive, or instead release nerve-cell-stimulating factors before their death. Although tissue must be removed when the colloidal gold technique is used, the scientists are now evaluating another marker that is already being used in clinical imaging techniques and that might be engulfed by reforming Sendai virus envelopes -- thus providing a way to follow grafts in vivo.
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Title Annotation:colloidal gold used to track migration of transplanted cells
Publication:Science News
Date:Feb 20, 1988
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