Gold shown to cause accelerated aging.

Photo by crafty1tutu | flickr.com

Photo by crafty1tutu | flickr.com

Recent research has revealed the inhibitory effect of gold nanoparticles on adipose (fat) storage in cells in the human body. The gold nanoparticles are often emitted in notable amounts from gold jewellery, skin creams, solar cells and even MRI contrast agents. By inhibiting key adipose storage processes, we begin to notice accelerated aging and wrinkling, slowed wound healing and development of diabetes.

Properly functioning adipose tissue works to insulate the body from heat and cold, to store nutrients, and is found as padding material around organs. Researchers, led by Tatsiana Mironava, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Molecular Engineering at Stony Brook University, had tested the effect of nanoparticles in vitro on multiple types of cells. They discovered that the adipose cells were directly engulfing the nanoparticles with no clear pathway for elimination. This accumulation destroys the capability of cell replication; a crucial mechanism for the ongoing regeneration of wounds and natural wearing of organs.

According to the researchers, the most shocking find was that the nanoparticles worked to interfere with RNA expression, genetic regulation and obstructive maturation of adipose stem cells (cells our body uses for ongoing organ regeneration). This genetic interference has manifested in vitro through multiple organs, skin, nerve, bone, and hair samples. They have also discovered that the gold nanoparticles disrupt processes of glucose regulation and fatty acid breakdown, thus hindering regular patterns of metabolism.

“Reductions caused by gold nanoparticles can result in systemic changes to the body," said Professor Mironava. "Since they have been considered inert and essentially harmless, it was assumed that pure gold nanoparticles would also be safe. Evidence to the contrary is beginning to emerge." Later, Mironava and her team discovered that wearing a gold watch or necklace has the same notable effect on humans. However, upon removal of the said jewellery, the cells begin to repair the damage and restore full function within days.

Hakim Elayday