Transgene-free remote magnetothermal regulation of adrenal hormones

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Science Advances  10 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 15, eaaz3734
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz3734


The field of bioelectronic medicines seeks to modulate electrical signaling within peripheral organs, providing temporally precise control of physiological functions. This is usually accomplished with implantable devices, which are often unsuitable for interfacing with soft and highly vascularized organs. Here, we demonstrate an alternative strategy for modulating peripheral organ function, which relies on the endogenous expression of a heat-sensitive cation channel, transient receptor potential vanilloid family member 1 (TRPV1), and heat dissipation by magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in remotely applied alternating magnetic fields. We use this approach to wirelessly control adrenal hormone secretion in genetically intact rats. TRPV1-dependent calcium influx into the cells of adrenal cortex and medulla is sufficient to drive rapid release of corticosterone and (nor)epinephrine. As altered levels of these hormones have been correlated with mental conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder and major depression, our approach may facilitate the investigation of physiological and psychological impacts of stress.

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