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Can Gold Nanoparticles Treat the Aging Face?

Scientists in the US have developed a new method of cross-linking gold nanoparticles to collagen gels to treat the aging face.

Aging, disease, and trauma all lead to deficits in soft tissue. Dermal fillers, also known as soft tissue fillers, are medical injectable implants for cosmetic and tissue reconstruction. These soft tissue fillers can be used to soften facial creases and wrinkles, create fuller appearances in the face, and elevate and fill coarse folds. Over7 million soft-tissue filler procedures were performed in the United States in 2016. Hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, and collagen gels remain the most frequently used fillers because of their great capacity to attract and preserve vast amounts of moisture. While there are many soft tissue filler products on the market, their longevity is still questionable.

Gold Nanoparticles Improve Collagen’s Resistance

In a recent study published in Tissue Engineering, a group of scientists from the University of Missouri, U.S., cross-linked tiny gold nanoparticles to commercially available collagen gels to enhance the overall mechanical performances and resistance to degradation. The gold nanoparticles, about 100 nanometers, are zero valent, and exhibiting high surface reactivity, antioxidant, and antimicrobial behaviors. The scientists utilized these gold nanoparticles to improve collagen’s resistance to degradation by hindering the collagenase binding sites to extend longevity and at the same time allowing slow degradation of the collagen construct.

Implants Well-Tolerated by Study Subjects

The researchers continued to investigate the local tissue reaction and longevity of the gold nanoparticles in conjugated collagen gels in studies using pictures, where the soft tissue fillers were shown to maintain their volume for up to five months. More excitingly, the implants were found to be well tolerated by the pigs without any inflammation or adverse reactions. The researchers believe that the incorporation of gold nanoparticles into existing collagen gels enables a slower, more balance resorption and remodeling response, and without significant loss of function.

The technique developed by the researchers is simple, fast, and applicable to commercial collagen products. Nanotechnology clearly opens a new door for medical advances by providing new tools for the manipulation and characterization of matter at very small dimensions. The potential of this treatment is apparent, but the risk must still be studied and fully understood.

Written by Man-tik Choy, Ph.D

Reference: Grant, S.A., et al. 2018. Gold Nanoparticle‐Collagen Gels for Soft Tissue Augmentation In Vivo Study of Longevity and Biocompatibility. Tissue Engineering Part A. DOI10.1089/ten.TEA.2017.0385.

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