Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a biocompatible material to mimic the glycocalyx, the natural layer of molecules that coats the outside of endothelial cells. This technology can be used to treat inflammation in diseases characterized by dysfunction in leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions.
Endothelial cells can lose glycocalyx when patients face chronic or acute systemic inflammation like that seen in COVID-19 or following ischemia reperfusion injury. When this loss of glycocalyx occurs, cell surface receptors are exposed to the extracellular environment. Circulating white blood cells (WBCs) then encounter the exposed receptors and bind to them - inducing an adverse inflammatory response. While circulating platelets support thrombus formation after encountering the receptors.
Researchers at the University of California Davis have developed an engineered biomaterial that prevents this inflammatory response by binding to the exposed receptors, thereby “hiding” the endothelial cell from the WBCs and platelets. The biomaterial consists of two parts: a binding peptide resistant to enzymatic degradation; and a glycosaminoglycan. The binding peptide has a unique, peptide-resistant sequence that improves function at lower doses. Its overall composition is very similar to that of natural glycocalyx, making it a likely candidate for safe and effective use as a therapeutic in humans.
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glycocalyx, endothelial cell, leukocyte, peptide, mimetic, glycosaminoglycan, inflammation response, platelet, coagulopathy