Nanometric agents in the service of neuroscience: Manipulation of neuronal growth and activity using nanoparticles

Pazit Polak, Orit Shefi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Nerve regeneration and recovery could provide great therapeutic benefits for individuals suffering from nerve damage post trauma or degenerative diseases. However, manipulation of nerves presents a huge challenge for neuroscientists and is not yet clinically feasible. In recent years, nanoparticles have emerged as novel effective agents for control of neuronal growth and behavior. Nanoparticles may facilitate the needed nerve manipulation abilities for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes including within the brain. This review aims at presenting the currently available literature regarding the interactions between inorganic nanoparticles and neurons. A wide range of nanoparticles are presented, including gold, iron oxide, cerium oxide, nanotubes and quantum-dots. The nanoparticles enhance neuronal differentiation and survival, direct growth and regulate electrical activity. The studies are summarized in a concise table, arranged by the function and type of nanoparticle. The latest studies present a novel interdisciplinary approach, which could be harnessed for clinical applications in nanomedicine. From the Clinical Editor: Nerve regeneration remains the Holy Grail for patients with neuron loss. Nonetheless, this goal has not been realized in clinical setting thus far. In this article, the authors present a comprehensive review on various nanoparticle-based approaches, in both diagnosis and therapy, which should stimulate and generate more research ideas to the advancement in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1467-1479
Number of pages13
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotechnology
  • Neuronal-activity
  • Neuronal-growth
  • Neurons


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