Scientists stumble upon electrical property of arteriesJanuary 31st, 2012 - 6:17 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Jan 31 (IANS) Unravelling a facet of the heart’s mysterious workings, scientists have stumbled upon electrical property in arteries not seen before in mammalian tissues.
Scientists found that the wall of the aorta, the largest blood vessel carrying blood from the heart, exhibits ferroelectricity, a response to an electric field known to exist in inorganic and synthetic materials.
A ferroelectric material is an electrically polar molecule with one side positively charged and the other negatively charged, whose polarity can be reversed by applying an electrical field, the journal Physical Review Letters reports.
“The result is exciting for scientific reasons. But it could also have biomedical implications,” said Jiangyu Li, University of Washington associate professor of mechanical engineering, who led the study.
“We can imagine if we could manipulate the polarity of the artery wall, if we could switch it one way or the other, then we might, for example, better understand the deposition of cholesterol which leads to the thickening and hardening of the artery wall,” Li said.
Ferroelectricity is common in synthetic materials and used for displays, memory storage, and sensors, according to a University of Washington statement.
Li collaborated with co-author Katherine Zhang at Boston University to explore the phenomenon in biological tissues. The findings show clear evidence of ferroelectricity in a sample of a pig aorta. They believe the findings would also apply to human tissue.
In subsequent yet to be published work, they divided the sample into fibrous collagen and springy elastin and studied each one on its own.
“The elastin network is what gives the artery the mechanical property of elasticity, which of course is a very important function,” Li said. Ferroelectricity may, therefore, play a role in how the body responds to sugar or fat.
Another possible application is to treat a condition in which cholesterol molecules stick to the inside of the channel, eventually closing it off.
- Study finds secret behind humans' near-perfect tissue elasticity over a lifetime - Mar 02, 2011
- New finding could lead to better memory chips - Mar 16, 2011
- Scientists grow arteries with most elastic protein reported - Feb 01, 2011
- Researchers develop graft that regenerates coronary arteries - Jun 25, 2012
- Growth-factor-containing nanoparticles speed up healing of chronic wounds - Jan 27, 2011
- New biomaterial that mimics muscle elasticity may aid muscle generation - May 09, 2010
- Exposure to chemical may cause heart disease: Study - Sep 05, 2012
- Ill-effect of high-fat meal linked to belly fat - Feb 18, 2011
- Statin can prevent strokes, besides lowering lipids - Jan 05, 2012
- High fat diet damages arteries earlier than suspected - Apr 04, 2012
- Stretchy patch could help repair wounded skin, damaged arteries - Apr 02, 2011
- Why inflammation ravages ex-smokers' lungs - Oct 29, 2009
- Antioxidant protein promotes clogging of arteries, says study - Jan 11, 2011
- New surgical tool peers into heart non invasively - Mar 08, 2011
- Astronauts could face heart problems with deep-space travel - Apr 08, 2011
Tags: aorta, arteries, artery wall, biological tissues, blood vessel, boston university, clear evidence, elastin, electrical field, electrical property, ferroelectric material, human tissue, mammalian tissues, mechanical property, memory storage, mysterious workings, physical review letters, polar molecule, polarity, synthetic materials