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Lab Team Spins Ginger Into Nanoparticles to Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease

(Veterans Affairs Research Communications) A recent study by researchers at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center took them to a not-so-likely destination: local farmers markets. They went in search of fresh ginger root.
Back at the lab, the scientists turned the ginger into what they are calling GDNPs, or ginger-derived nanoparticles…
Fed to lab mice, the particles appeared to be nontoxic and had significant therapeutic effects:
·         Importantly, they efficiently targeted the colon. They were absorbed mainly by cells in the lining of the intestines, where IBD inflammation occurs.
·         The particles reduced acute colitis and prevented chronic colitis and colitis-associated cancer.
·         They enhanced intestinal repair. Specifically, they boosted the survival and proliferation of the cells that make up the lining of the colon. They also lowered the production of proteins that promote inflammation, and raised the levels of proteins that fight inflammation.
Part of the therapeutic effect, say the researchers, comes from the high levels of lipids -- fatty molecules -- in the particles, a result of the natural lipids in the ginger plant. One of the lipids is phosphatidic acid, an important building block of cell membranes.
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