Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have identified a low-frequency, magnetic field reactive nanoparticle that can decompose substances causing Alzheimer's disease.
Magnetoelectric material has properties that combine magnetism and electricity and is a core material that composes various electronic devices such as spintronics devices and transducers. However, the materials have limitations in improving their performance due to the spin-orbit interactions of protons that interfere with the rotation and orbital motion of electrons in atoms.
The research team, led by Professor Park Chan-beom of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, developed heterogeneous magnetoelectric nanoparticles by bonding cobalt ferrite and bismuth ferrite, a kind of magnetoelectric material used mainly in semiconductor and battery fields, into a core-shell structure.
The uniform bonding of different magnetoelectric materials can generate a magneto-piezoelectric effect that responds to a low-frequency magnetic field at their interface.
Nanoparticles do not emit heat when they generate charge carriers in response to low-frequency magnetic fields. The magnetic field can penetrate brain tissue without damage, and its medical safety has proved its medical use through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices.
By applying the low-frequency magnetic field to the developed nanoparticles, Park’s team could confirm the oxidization of beta-amyloid peptide, weakening the binding force of the aggregate and breaking it down.
The researchers also confirmed they could neutralize neurotoxicity.
Amyloid aggregates are commonly observed in various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, and are hard to dissolve as it has a very stable secondary structure through regular hydrogen bonding.
"Low-frequency magnetic field responsive nanomaterials have low toxicity and have potential to expand into medical fields because they can efficiently break down amyloid aggregates by reacting with magnetic fields," Professor Park said. "To verify the team's theory, we require further animal experiments using Alzheimer's transgenic mice."
Science Advances published the result of the study on May 13.