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  • 1 Eötvös Loránd University Department of Physiology and Neurobiology Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C H-1117 Budapest Hungary
  • 2 Animal Breeding and Animal Hygiene Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Kaposvár University Guba S. u. 40 H-7400 Kaposvár Hungary
  • 3 Hungarian Academy of Sciences Department of Biological Nanochemistry, Institute of Molecular Pharmacology, Research Center for Natural Sciences Pusztaszeri út 59-67 H-1025 Budapest Hungary
  • 4 Chemical Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Department of Surface Modification and Nanostructures, Institute of Nanochemistry and Catalysis Pusztaszeri út 59-67 H-1025 Budapest Hungary
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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.

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