Piezoelectric Nanoparticle-Assisted Wireless Neuronal Stimulation

Attilio Marino*, Satoshi Arai, Yanyan Hou, Edoardo Sinibaldi, Mario Pellegrino, Young Tae Chang, Barbara Mazzolai, Virgilio Mattoli, Madoka Suzuki, Gianni Ciofani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Citations (Scopus)


Tetragonal barium titanate nanoparticles (BTNPs) have been exploited as nanotransducers owing to their piezoelectric properties, in order to provide indirect electrical stimulation to SH-SY5Y neuron-like cells. Following application of ultrasounds to cells treated with BTNPs, fluorescence imaging of ion dynamics revealed that the synergic stimulation is able to elicit a significant cellular response in terms of calcium and sodium fluxes; moreover, tests with appropriate blockers demonstrated that voltage-gated membrane channels are activated. The hypothesis of piezoelectric stimulation of neuron-like cells was supported by lack of cellular response in the presence of cubic nonpiezoelectric BTNPs, and further corroborated by a simple electroelastic model of a BTNP subjected to ultrasounds, according to which the generated voltage is compatible with the values required for the activation of voltage-sensitive channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7678-7689
Number of pages12
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 28


  • barium titanate nanoparticles
  • calcium imaging
  • piezoelectricity
  • SH-SY5Y cells
  • ultrasounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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