Probing Neuro-Endocrine Interactions Through Wireless Magnetothermal Stimulation of Peripheral Organs

Lisa Y. Maeng, Dekel Rosenfeld, Gregory J. Simandl, Florian Koehler, Alexander W. Senko, Junsang Moon, Georgios Varnavides, Maria F. Murillo, Adriano E. Reimer, Aaron Wald, Polina Anikeeva, Alik S. Widge
Posted on Publisher's version


Exposure to stress alters hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity; however, it is unclear exactly how or where within the HPA pathway these changes occur. Dissecting these mechanisms requires tools to reliably probe HPA function, particularly the adrenal component, with temporal precision. We previously demonstrated magnetic nanoparticle (MNP) technology to remotely trigger adrenal hormone release by activating thermally sensitive ion channels. Here, we applied adrenal magnetothermal stimulation to probe stress-induced HPA axis changes. MNP and control nanoparticles were injected into the adrenal glands of outbred rats subjected to a tone-shock conditioning/extinction/recall paradigm. We measured MNP-triggered adrenal release before and after conditioning through physiologic (heart rate) and serum (epinephrine, corticosterone) markers. Aversive conditioning altered adrenal function, reducing corticosterone and blunting heart rate increases post-conditioning. MNP-based organ stimulation provides a novel approach to probing the function of HPA and other neuro-endocrine axes and could help elucidate changes across stress and disease models.