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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 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

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

Cite this

Marino, A., Arai, S., Hou, Y., Sinibaldi, E., Pellegrino, M., Chang, Y. T., Mazzolai, B., Mattoli, V., Suzuki, M., & Ciofani, G. (2015). Piezoelectric Nanoparticle-Assisted Wireless Neuronal Stimulation. ACS Nano, 9(7), 7678-7689. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.5b03162