A low temperature atmospheric pressure plasma source for accelerating blood coagulation.

De Masi G., Gareri C., Cordaro L., Fassina A., Cavazzana R., Martines E., Zaniol B., Zuin M., Brun P., Marinaro G., Tammé L., Scalise M., De Rosa S., Indolfi C.

V - Biofisica e fisica medica
Aula 32C-2 - Martedì 18 h 09:00 - 13:00
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Plasma medicine is a new applicative field stemming from the broader plasma science. It deals with the use of cold plasmas produced at atmospheric pressure in order to obtain a therapeutic effect on living matter. At present, disinfection, wound healing, blood coagulation and cancer cell treatment are the emerging fields of application. The driving idea of plasma medicine is to have a very localized and non-thermal (few Watts of power) treatment of the body substrate. In this contribution we present the main features of a prototype of non-thermal plasma source that we specifically designed for accelerating blood coagulation: the Plasma Coagulation Controller (PCC) is based on a Dielectric Barrier Discharge (DBD) that can use either helium or argon as the working gas. The device is controlled by a microcontroller and can be supplied by a standard 220 V/50 Hz AC voltage. An AC/DC converter is then used to feed high voltage transformer to 8-9 kV discharge. Effective current on a metallic target is found to be of the order of 1 mA. Emission spectroscopic measurements revealed the chemical features of the generated plasma: the presence of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RONS) and of metastable excited states is highlighted in the different PCC operational set-up. The analysis of the rotational OH- and N2 spectra allowed also the estimation of their rotational temperatures, ranging around 300 K. The PCC has been tested in different biological processes, including reactive species production, bacterial removal, and blood coagulation. In particular, the ability of the device to accelerate blood coagulation has been investigated through different experiments. In-vitro tests have been performed on blood samples from patients following anticoagulant therapy and exposed either to air (control samples) or to direct plasma jet for different time points. PCC exposure strongly stimulated formation of blood clots that have been successively analyzed by histological methods. A Western Blot has been also performed in order to investigate the relative activation of proteins involved in blood coagulation, as well as of enzymes involved in the reactive species disposal. In-vivo test on Male Wistar rats have been also performed. Overall, all the experimental results suggest accelerated blood coagulation. Further studies regarding the molecular mechanisms behind this phenomenon are currently ongoing.

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