Near-Infrared Light Triggered-Release in Deep Brain Regions Using Ultra-photosensitive Nanovesicles

Hejian Xiong, Xiuying Li, Peiyuan Kang, John Perish, Frederik Neuhaus, Jonathan E. Ploski, Sven Kroener, Maria O. Ogunyankin, Jeong Eun Shin, Joseph A. Zasadzinski, Hui Wang, Paul A. Slesinger, Andreas Zumbuehl, Zhenpeng Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Remote and minimally-invasive modulation of biological systems with light has transformed modern biology and neuroscience. However, light absorption and scattering significantly prevents penetration to deep brain regions. Herein, we describe the use of gold-coated mechanoresponsive nanovesicles, which consist of liposomes made from the artificial phospholipid Rad-PC-Rad as a tool for the delivery of bioactive molecules into brain tissue. Near-infrared picosecond laser pulses activated the gold-coating on the surface of nanovesicles, creating nanomechanical stress and leading to near-complete vesicle cargo release in sub-seconds. Compared to natural phospholipid liposomes, the photo-release was possible at 40 times lower laser energy. This high photosensitivity enables photorelease of molecules down to a depth of 4 mm in mouse brain. This promising tool provides a versatile platform to optically release functional molecules to modulate brain circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8608-8615
Number of pages8
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 25 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Jinguo Wang and Dr. Qingxiao Wang (University of Texas at Dallas) for the technical advice and assistance with HAADF-STEM. This work was partially supported by the University of Texas System Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Research Institute (UTSNNRI) under award number 362492 (Z.Q.), National Science Foundation under award number 1631910 (Z.Q.), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number RF1NS110499 (Z.Q., P.A.S.), and National Institute of Mental Health of NIH under award number R01MH111499 (P.A.S.), National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering under award number K99EB023993 (H.W.), and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute under award number R01HL51177 (J.A.Z.). A.Z. was supported by a stipend professorship of the Swiss National Science Foundation. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • brain
  • gold shell
  • mechanoresponsive vesicles
  • near-infrared light
  • uncaging


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