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Remotely Controlled Proton Generation for Neuromodulation

submitted on 26.05.2020, 13:51 and posted on 27.05.2020, 12:28 by Jimin Park, Anthony Tabet, Junsang Moon, Po-Han Chiang, Florian Koehler, Atharva Sahasrabudhe, Polina Anikeeva

Understanding and modulating proton-mediated biochemical processes in living organisms have been impeded by the lack of tools to control local pH. Here, we design nanotransducers capable of converting non-invasive alternating magnetic fields (AMFs) into protons in physiological environments by combining magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) with polymeric scaffolds. When exposed to AMFs, the heat dissipated by MNPs triggered a hydrolytic degradation of surrounding polyanhydride or polyester, releasing protons into the extracellular space. pH changes induced by these nanotransducers can be tuned by changing the polymer chemistry or AMF stimulation parameters. Remote magnetic control of local protons was shown to trigger acid-sensing ion channels and evoke intracellular calcium influx in neurons. By offering a wireless modulation of local pH, our approach can accelerate the mechanistic investigation of the role of protons in biochemical signalling in the nervous system.


This work was funded in part by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (5R01NS086804) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) BRAIN Initiative (1R01MH111872). This work made use of the MIT MRSEC Shared Experimental Facilities under award number DMR- 14-19807 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). J.P. is a recipient of scholarship from the Kwanjeong Educational Foundation. A.T. thanks the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship.


Email Address of Submitting Author



Massachusetts Institute of Technology



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.


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in Nano Letters

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