Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices

Petra Varró, Imola Szigyártó, A. Gergely, Erika Kálmán, Ildikó Világi

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon nanotubes are promising new tools in biomedicine but they may have yet some unknown influences on the organism. In the present study, the acute effect of solubilized, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on basic neuronal functions was examined. Rat brain slices were treated in vitro with nanotube-containing colloid solutions at concentrations of 100-800 μg/ml and evoked field potentials were recorded from the somatosensory cortex and hippocampus. Basic excitability of the treated slices was characterized by the amplitude of field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSPs) and population spikes. Experimental results indicated significantly higher excitability of treated samples than that of controls. Multiple components in evoked potentials were observed, which is in accordance with the increased excitability of investigated brain areas. Tests of short- and long-term plasticity were also performed, which revealed no difference between control and treated slices. Experimental results suggest an interaction between nanotubes and brain tissue. MWCNTs seem to act on the basic membrane potential of neurons by changing membrane properties or via a mechanism linked to voltage-gated ion channels, rather than influencing specific synaptic transmission. Further investigation is needed to clarify the nature of interactions between nanotubes and brain tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalActa biologica Hungarica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2013



  • Carbon nanotubes
  • field potentials
  • hippocampus
  • neocortex
  • rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Neurology

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