A new nitric oxide-releasing cloth that may come handy in making a wrap for donor organs and therapeutic socks for diabetics, has been developed by American scientists.
According to Texas scientists Kenneth Balkus and Harvey, nitric oxide (NO) helps increase blood flow and regulates a range of other body functions. Researchers have been trying for years to find practical ways to store and deliver NO for use in medicine. But they have had difficulty finding a suitable material that allows controlled delivery of NO. Recent studies suggested that zeolites could work. These porous materials soak up and store large amounts of gases like NO.
The scientists describe development of a new bandage composed of nitric oxide-absorbing zeolites embedded in a special water-repellent polymer. In experiments with laboratory rats, the bandage slowly released nitric oxide and increased blood flow.
"The bandage could be used to wrap a donor organ ensuring intimate contact and direct delivery of nitric oxide," states the report appearing in ACS' Chemistry of Materials, a bi-weekly journal.
It adds: "Additionally, these interwoven fabrics could also find applications in smart textiles such as NO-releasing socks for diabetic patients, who have been shown to produce less nitric xide than healthy patients."