Infants do not produce the same immune response to foreign ABO blood group antigens as older individuals who have a
fully developed immune system. ABO-incompatible infant heart transplantation has been shown to result in development of
immune tolerance to donor ABO antigens, which is associated with persistence of donor antigens. Therefore, we hypothesized that
intentional introduction of synthesized ABO antigens to infants would also induce tolerance. Inducing tolerance to foreign ABO
antigens in this manner would extend the window of time during which safe transplantation from ABO-incompatible donors
could be performed, thus expanding the potential donor pool for infants and children who have passed the age at which their
immune system matures. A proposed method to induce tolerance is by conjugating antigens to synthesized silica nanoparticles
for introduction to immature individuals, which will allow maximum exposure of circulating lymphocytes to the antigens. Here,
characterization of the newly synthesized nanoparticles in the chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) vasculature is shown.
Nanoparticles are injected into the CAM to determine detection efficiency, aggregation, and uptake kinetics in angiogenic blood
vessels using FCS. Analyzing these uptake kinetics provides information on the biophysical interactions of the nanoparticles with
angiogenic vasculature. PEG-coated silica nanoparticles were easily detected with few aggregation tendencies in the 100-200 nm
range. Uptake into blood vessel walls has not been observed for these nanoparticles over 100nm, indicating that the particles can
circulate for a prolonged period of time in the blood stream, thus enhancing the likelihood of successful tolerance induction.
Amy Tekrony completed a B.Sc. in Chemistry in 2008 and a M.Sc. in Biophysical Chemistry in July 2011 from the University of Calgary. She is
currently working as a research assistant and Sessional Instructor at the University of Calgary.
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