Thanks to Christian Assad (@Christianassad), Cardiology Fellow at TMHS/UTMB, for tweeting the press release from researchers at the Technical University in Munich (Technische Universitaet Munchen) on how artificial nanoparticles may influence heart rate:
Using a Langendorff heart, which is an isolated heart from an animal, flushed with a nutrient solution instead of blood, researchers were able to show that certain nanoparticles caused an increased heart rate, cardiac arrhythmia and modified ECG.
Researchers hypothesized that nanoparticles cause the release of noradrenaline. However, there is no clinical data associated with the press release that can be analyzed, so the implications of this research are limited.
In particular, there is no discussion of the extent to which the nanoparticles tested with the heart model are in fact used for drug delivery. The press release mentions the team used nanoparticles made of titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide and carbon black. These are commonly found in sun screens and industrial products. The extent to which these might be likely to find their way to a human heart is questionable.
Nanoparticles are increasingly being used for drug delivery, yet safety concerns persist, so having an animal model of the heart could be helpful to investigate the effect of the artificial nanoparticles on an organ.
However, more research is needed to validate this model with nanoparticles that are in fact used for human drug delivery.