Why you need an ion sensor to detect nickel in your bloodstream
A simple test to detect the presence of nickel in a person’s blood may not reveal much about the presence or content of nickel, but it could shed light on whether the substance is present in your blood.
In an effort to learn more about nickel, a team of researchers at the University of Maryland and the University at Buffalo have developed an ion-detection test that uses a magnet to magnetize nickel particles.
“We wanted to determine if a simple magnetic test that was just looking at the magnetic field in a given spot in the body could detect nickel,” said co-author Dr. Jonathan A. Lue, a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology.
“It’s not clear why the presence (of nickel) in your body is important.
But if you have a lot of nickel particles, there may be some evidence of nickel.”
The team’s new test, which was recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is a modified version of the ion-selective positron emission tomography (PSET) test that is commonly used in clinical laboratories to measure nickel concentrations in the blood.
The new test measures the amount of nickel ions that have been detected in a subject’s blood using a positron.
“The positron is a detector that looks at how many positrons a particular molecule has, and we use this to figure out how many molecules have been emitted from the sample,” said lead author Dr. Thomas P. Leibowitz, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and biochemistry.
The PSET test is a relatively simple test.
For instance, it only requires a single positron to detect a sample of nickel.
But the team developed a more sophisticated test that includes an ion analyzer that can detect nickel ions in an additional sample of blood.
The test involves detecting an additional number of positrons from the same sample of brain tissue and a sample from a mouse.
The team also added a detector for nickel-131 ions, which are a relatively common constituent of nickel compounds.
To perform this new test on mice, the team coated a mouse with nickel-127, a highly toxic form of nickel that is found in the skin of some animals.
After a few weeks, the mice showed marked differences in the amount and concentration of nickel-125 in their blood.
A second experiment showed similar results.
“This means that the mice that we coated with nickel reacted differently to nickel-129 and nickel-132 than mice that were not coated,” said Leibowitz.
The new test does not necessarily test the nickel in the mice’s blood, but rather determines whether nickel has been detected.
“In a lot, maybe 80 percent of the cases, you will find the nickel.
That means the nickel is in the brain, in the bloodstream, in a tissue of the body,” he said.
“But if you take a little bit of the nickel, it may not be there.
That is why we are doing this.”
The results of the tests are presented in a paper that describes the findings.
“What is really exciting is that we have found that in mice that have nickel exposure, they have different levels of nickel than mice not exposed to nickel,” Lue said.
The study also found that nickel is found much more often in the brains of mice exposed to high levels of mercury than in mice exposed only to nickel.
“Mercury is an extremely toxic substance,” Leibowsowitz said.
Mercury can also cause neurological damage in humans.
The National Institutes of Health has warned that high levels are associated with many health problems, including memory loss, depression, and psychosis.
The research team also plans to use the new test in a clinical trial to determine whether the tests results can be used to determine the presence and concentration, or concentration level, of other contaminants in the environment.
“At the moment, we can only do one thing: We can measure nickel in blood.
We can’t really measure other substances, such as mercury,” said Lue.
“We need to develop a test that will tell us how much nickel is present and how much is not present in the system.”
The research was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institutes on Aging.