Activating piezoelectric nanoparticles with ultrasound

The use of piezoelectric materials, like Barium Titanate (BaTiO3), has shown great potential in the field of regenerative medicine. When exposed to external mechanical stimulation, these nanoparticles activate and create electrical cues, which in turn can activate many intracellular signaling pathways, and influence the intracellular microenvironment.

Ultrasound is a mechanical wave with frequencies higher than 20kHz and besides medical imaging, it is also used for therapeutic purposes in medicine. There are two physical main effects when ultrasound wave interacts with biological tissues: thermal and mechanical. Activating implanted piezoelectric nanoparticles with external ultrasound stimulation launches many biological effects and with correct stimulation settings, these effects can be controlled as desired.

Researchers from the University of Oulu are currently constructing two platforms for upcoming experiments. The first one will be used to characterize the properties of different tissues with ultrasound. In addition, an ex vivo platform, where implanted biomaterials will be exposed to ultrasound stimulation, is under development. In this platform, stimulation parameters, obtained from the previous experiment will be utilized, and several response parameters will be quantitatively measured at once to gain crucial information about the stimulation effect.