Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Hot Hormones

Modulating hormone levels by via magnetic nanoparticles manipulated remotely

21 June 2020

Hot Hormones

Our mental health is kept in delicate balance by the constant regulation of hormone levels. Disruption to this system can cause conditions like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Researchers hunting better understanding and new treatments are now asking whether it's possible to artificially regulate hormone levels when the body mismanages the supply. A new approach used magnetic nanoparticles (located in the white squares) to prompt hormone release in a rat adrenal gland (pictured) by changing temperature. The injected nanoparticles stayed in place in rats for six months, and could vary in temperature by 6°C – enough to trigger cellular changes without causing damage. Causing changes that can ultimately impact brain function by regulating key hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline without invasive surgical methods is a promising prospect. It will help researchers better investigate how hormones affect us, and may eventually provide a method for managing mental conditions in humans.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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