PublicationsWireless stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus with nanoparticles modulates key monoaminergic systems similar to contemporary deep brain stimulation
BACKGROUND: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is commonly used to alleviate motor symptoms in several movement disorders. However, the procedure is invasive, and the technology has remained largely stagnant since its inception decades ago. Recently, we have shown that wireless nanoelectrodes may offer an alternative approach to conventional DBS. However, this method is still in its infancy, and more research is required to characterize its potential before it can be considered as an alternative to conventional DBS.
OBJECTIVES: Herein, we aimed to investigate the effect of stimulation via magnetoelectric nanoelectrodes on primary neurotransmitter systems that have implications for DBS in movement disorders.
METHODS: Mice were injected with either magnetoelectric nanoparticles (MENPs) or magnetostrictive nanoparticles (MSNPs, as a control) in the subthalamic nucleus (STN). Mice then underwent magnetic stimulation, and their motor behavior was assessed in the open field test. In addition, magnetic stimulation was applied before sacrifice and post-mortem brains were processed for immunohistochemistry (IHC) to assess the co-expression of c-Fos with either tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH2) or choline acetyltransferase (ChAT).
RESULTS: Stimulated animals covered longer distances in the open field test when compared to controls. Moreover, we found a significant increase in c-Fos expression in the motor cortex (MC) and paraventricular region of the thalamus (PV-thalamus) after magnetoelectric stimulation. Stimulated animals showed fewer TPH2/c-Fos double-labelled cells in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), as well as TH/c-Fos double-labelled cells in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), but not in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). There was no significant difference in the number of ChAT/ c-Fos double-labelled cells in the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN).
CONCLUSIONS: Magnetoelectric DBS in mice enables selective modulation of deep brain areas and animal behavior. The measured behavioral responses are associated with changes in relevant neurotransmitter systems. These changes are somewhat similar to those observed in conventional DBS, suggesting that magnetoelectric DBS might be a suitable alternative.