Letter abstract

Nature Materials 8, 742 - 746 (2009)
Published online: 5 July 2009 | doi:10.1038/nmat2494

Subject Categories: Polymers | Biomedical materials | Electronic materials

Organic electronics for precise delivery of neurotransmitters to modulate mammalian sensory function

Daniel T. Simon1,2, Sindhulakshmi Kurup2,3, Karin C. Larsson2,3, Ryusuke Hori4,5, Klas Tybrandt1,2, Michel Goiny4, Edwin W. H. Jager1,2, Magnus Berggren1,2, Barbara Canlon4 & Agneta Richter-Dahlfors2,3


Significant advances have been made in the understanding of the pathophysiology, molecular targets and therapies for the treatment of a variety of nervous-system disorders. Particular therapies involve electrical sensing and stimulation of neural activity1, 2, 3, 4, and significant effort has therefore been devoted to the refinement of neural electrodes5, 6, 7, 8. However, direct electrical interfacing suffers from some inherent problems, such as the inability to discriminate amongst cell types. Thus, there is a need for novel devices to specifically interface nerve cells. Here, we demonstrate an organic electronic device capable of precisely delivering neurotransmitters in vitro and in vivo. In converting electronic addressing into delivery of neurotransmitters, the device mimics the nerve synapse. Using the peripheral auditory system, we show that out of a diverse population of cells, the device can selectively stimulate nerve cells responding to a specific neurotransmitter. This is achieved by precise electronic control of electrophoretic migration through a polymer film. This mechanism provides several sought-after features for regulation of cell signalling: exact dosage determination through electrochemical relationships, minimally disruptive delivery due to lack of fluid flow, and on–off switching. This technology has great potential as a therapeutic platform and could help accelerate the development of therapeutic strategies for nervous-system disorders.

  1. Department of Science and Technology (ITN), Linköping University, S-601 74 Norrköping, Sweden
  2. Strategic Research Center for Organic Bioelectronics (OBOE), Linköping and Stockholm, Sweden
  3. Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
  4. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
  5. Present address: Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan

Correspondence to: Agneta Richter-Dahlfors2,3 e-mail: agneta.richter.dahlfors@ki.se


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