PloS one

Neurotransmitter Specific, Cellular-Resolution Functional Brain Mapping Using Receptor Coated Nanoparticles: Assessment of the Possibility.

PMID 26717196


Receptor coated resonant nanoparticles and quantum dots are proposed to provide a cellular-level resolution image of neural activities inside the brain. The functionalized nanoparticles and quantum dots in this approach will selectively bind to different neurotransmitters in the extra-synaptic regions of neurons. This allows us to detect neural activities in real time by monitoring the nanoparticles and quantum dots optically. Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) with two different geometries (sphere and rod) and quantum dots (QDs) with different sizes were studied along with three different neurotransmitters: dopamine, gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glycine. The absorption/emission spectra of GNPs and QDs before and after binding of neurotransmitters and their corresponding receptors are reported. The results using QDs and nanorods with diameter 25nm and aspect rations larger than three were promising for the development of the proposed functional brain mapping approach.