Nanomaterial-Enabled Neural Stimulation

Neural stimulation is a critical technique in treating neurological diseases and investigating brain functions. Traditional electrical stimulation uses electrodes to directly create intervening electric fields in the immediate vicinity of neural tissues. Second-generation stimulation techniques directly use light, magnetic fields or ultrasound in a non-contact manner. An emerging generation of non- or minimally invasive neural stimulation techniques is enabled by nanotechnology to achieve a high spatial resolution and cell-type specificity. In these techniques, a nanomaterial converts a remotely transmitted primary stimulus such as a light, magnetic or ultrasonic signal to a localized secondary stimulus such as an electric field or heat to stimulate neurons. The ease of surface modification and bio-conjugation of nanomaterials facilitates cell-type-specific targeting, designated placement and highly localized membrane activation. This review focuses on nanomaterial-enabled neural stimulation techniques primarily involving opto-electric, opto-thermal, magneto-electric, magneto-thermal and acousto-electric transduction mechanisms. Stimulation techniques based on other possible transduction schemes and general consideration for these emerging neurotechnologies are also discussed.

Principles of nanomaterial-enabled neural stimulation. (A) General principle: a wirelessly transmitted primary stimulus, such as light, magnetic fields or ultrasound, penetrates through tissues and is converted by the nanomaterial to a localized secondary stimulus, primarily electric fields or heat, at the nanomaterial-neuron interface, to stimulate the neuron. The nanomaterials are (I) dispersed or immobilized in the extracellular environment, (II) attached to the membrane, (III) bound to the ion channel, or (IV) internalized to the cytoplasm. According to the primary and secondary stimuli, nanomaterial-enabled neural stimulation techniques can be classified into (B) opto-electric stimulation (Lugo et al., 2012), (C) opto-thermal stimulation (Eom et al., 2014), (D) magneto-electric stimulation (Yue et al., 2012), (E) magneto-thermal stimulation (Huang et al., 2010), and (F) acousto-electric stimulation (Ciofani et al., 2010). (Copyright permissions of B–F were obtained from the publishers).

źródło: U.S. National Library of Medicine – NCBI National Center for Biotechnology Information

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