Electromechanical Nanogenerator–Cell Interaction Modulates Cell Activity

Gonzalo Murillo, Andreu Blanquer, Carolina Vargas-Estevez, Lleonard Barrios, Elena Ibáñez, Carme Nogués, Jaume Esteve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim Noninvasive methods for in situ electrical stimulation of human cells open new frontiers to future bioelectronic therapies, where controlled electrical impulses could replace the use of chemical drugs for disease treatment. Here, this study demonstrates that the interaction of living cells with piezoelectric nanogenerators (NGs) induces a local electric field that self-stimulates and modulates their cell activity, without applying an additional chemical or physical external stimulation. When cells are cultured on top of the NGs, based on 2D ZnO nanosheets, the electromechanical NG–cell interactions stimulate the motility of macrophages and trigger the opening of ion channels present in the plasma membrane of osteoblast-like cells (Saos-2) inducing intracellular calcium transients. In addition, excellent cell viability, proliferation, and differentiation are validated. This in situ cell-scale electrical stimulation of osteoblast-like cells can be extrapolated to other excitable cells such as neurons or muscle cells, paving the way for future bioelectronic medicines based on cell-targeted electrical impulses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1605048
JournalAdvanced Materials
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2017


  • bioelectronics
  • cell activity modulation
  • electrical stimulation
  • nanogenerators
  • piezoelectronics


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