Impact of Magnetite Nanowires on In Vitro Hippocampal Neural Networks

Belén Cortés-Llanos*, Rossana Rauti, Ángel Ayuso-Sacido, Lucas Pérez, Laura Ballerini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanomaterials design, synthesis, and characterization are ever-expanding approaches toward developing biodevices or neural interfaces to treat neurological diseases. The ability of nanomaterials features to tune neuronal networks’ morphology or functionality is still under study. In this work, we unveil how interfacing mammalian brain cultured neurons and iron oxide nanowires’ (NWs) orientation affect neuronal and glial densities and network activity. Iron oxide NWs were synthesized by electrodeposition, fixing the diameter to 100 nm and the length to 1 µm. Scanning electron microscopy, Raman, and contact angle measurements were performed to characterize the NWs’ morphology, chemical composition, and hydrophilicity. Hippocampal cultures were seeded on NWs devices, and after 14 days, the cell morphology was studied by immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy. Live calcium imaging was performed to study neuronal activity. Using random nanowires (R-NWs), higher neuronal and glial cell densities were obtained compared with the control and vertical nanowires (V-NWs), while using V-NWs, more stellate glial cells were found. R-NWs produced a reduction in neuronal activity, while V-NWs increased the neuronal network activity, possibly due to a higher neuronal maturity and a lower number of GABAergic neurons, respectively. These results highlight the potential of NWs manipulations to design ad hoc regenerative interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number783
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • hippocampal neuronal networks
  • iron oxide
  • live imaging
  • nanowires
  • neuronal activity


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