Pervasive Genomic Damage in Experimental Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Therapeutic Potential of a Mechanistic-Based Carbon Nanoparticle

Prakash Dharmalingam, Girish Talakatta, Joy Mitra, Haibo Wang, Paul J. Derry, Lizanne Greer Nilewski, Emily A. McHugh, Roderic H. Fabian, Kimberly Mendoza, Velmarini Vasquez, Pavana M. Hegde, Eugenia Kakadiaris, Trenton Roy, Istvan Boldogh, Venkatesh L. Hegde, Sankar Mitra, James M. Tour, Thomas A. Kent, Muralidhar Hegde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Therapy for intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) remains elusive, in part dependent on the severity of the hemorrhage itself as well as multiple deleterious effects of blood and its breakdown products such as hemin and free iron. While oxidative injury and genomic damage have been seen following ICH, the details of this injury and implications remain unclear. Here, we discovered that, while free iron produced mostly reactive oxygen species (ROS)-related single-strand DNA breaks, hemin unexpectedly induced rapid and persistent nuclear and mitochondrial double-strand breaks (DSBs) in neuronal and endothelial cell genomes and in mouse brains following experimental ICH comparable to that seen with γradiation and DNA-complexing chemotherapies. Potentially as a result of persistent DSBs and the DNA damage response, hemin also resulted in senescence phenotype in cultured neurons and endothelial cells. Subsequent resistance to ferroptosis reported in other senescent cell types was also observed here in neurons. While antioxidant therapy prevented senescence, cells became sensitized to ferroptosis. To address both senescence and resistance to ferroptosis, we synthesized a modified, catalytic, and rapidly internalized carbon nanomaterial, poly(ethylene glycol)-conjugated hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCC) by covalently bonding the iron chelator, deferoxamine (DEF). This multifunctional nanoparticle, DEF-HCC-PEG, protected cells from both senescence and ferroptosis and restored nuclear and mitochondrial genome integrity in vitro and in vivo. We thus describe a potential molecular mechanism of hemin/iron-induced toxicity in ICH that involves a rapid induction of DSBs, senescence, and the consequent resistance to ferroptosis and provide a mechanistic-based combinatorial therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2827-2846
Number of pages20
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 24 2020


  • ferroptosis
  • genome damage
  • hemin
  • intracerebral hemorrhage
  • nanomaterial
  • senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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