Localized excitation of neural activity via rapid magnetothermal drug release


Hysteretic heat dissipation by magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in alternating magnetic fields (AMFs) allows these materials to act as local transducers of external stimuli. Commonly employed in cancer research, MNPs have recently found applications in remote control of heat‐dependent cellular pathways. Here, a thermally labile linker chemistry is adapted for the release of neuromodulatory compounds from the surfaces of MNPs via local nanoscale heating. By examining a range of MNP sizes, and considering individual particle loss powers, AMF conditions and nanomaterials suitable for rapid and complete release of a payload from MNP surfaces are selected. Local release of allyl isothiocyanate, an agonist of the Ca2+ channel TRPV1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid cation channel subfamily member 1), from iron oxide MNPs results in pharmacological excitation of neurons with latencies of ≈12 s. When targeted to neuronal membranes, these MNPs trigger Ca2+ influx and action potential firing at particle concentrations three orders of magnitude less than those previously used for magnetothermal neuromodulation accomplished with bulk heating.

Advanced Functional Materials
Gabriela Romero
Assistant Professor at University of Texas San Antonio
Michael G Christiansen
Postdoc at ETH Zurich (w/ Simone Schuerle)
Francisco Garcia
PhD student at MIT BCS
Polina Anikeeva
Polina Anikeeva
Professor in Materials Science and Engineering
Professor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Associate Director, Research Laboratory of Electronics

My goal is to combine the current knowledge of biology and nanoelectronics to develop materials and devices for minimally invasive treatments for neurological and neuromuscular diseases.