Design of poly(ethylene glycol)-functionalized hydrophilic carbon clusters for targeted therapy of cerebrovascular dysfunction in mild traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2013 May 1;30(9):789-96. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.2301. Epub 2012 Nov 5.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) involves the elaboration of oxidative stress that causes cerebrovascular dysfunction, including impairment of autoregulation of cerebral blood flow. Currently, there is no clinically effective antioxidant treatment for these pathologies. Most currently available antioxidants act through mechanisms in which the antioxidant either transfers the radical or requires regeneration, both of which are impaired in the toxic post-TBI environment. We previously reported that single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and ultrashort SWCNTs possess antioxidant activity, and their characteristics suggest that radical annihilation is the major mechanism. We have now developed a biologically compatible class of carbon-based nanovectors, poly(ethylene glycol)-functionalized hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCCs) that can be further functionalized with antibodies, and hence show promise as targeted drug delivery platforms. Here we report that PEG-HCCs possess innate antioxidant activity and can be rapidly targeted via an antibody to the P-selectin antigen in a model of injured cultured brain endothelial cells. One immediate application of this therapy is to vascular dysfunction that accompanies TBI and worsens outcome in the face of systemic hypotension. These in vitro results support the need for further investigation in animal models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemical synthesis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology*
  • Carbon / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Nanotechnology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemical synthesis
  • Polyethylene Glycols / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Carbon