Drug Delivery and Translational Research

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 131–143 | Cite as

Movement of giant lipid vesicles induced by millimeter wave radiation change when they contain magnetic nanoparticles

  • Martina Albini
  • Massimo Salvi
  • Emiliano Altamura
  • Simone Dinarelli
  • Loreto Di Donato
  • Andrea Lucibello
  • Fabio Mavelli
  • Filippo Molinari
  • Umberto Morbiducci
  • Alfonsina Ramundo-OrlandoEmail author
Original Article


Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are used in a rapidly expanding number of research and practical applications in biotechnology and biomedicine. Recent developments in iron oxide nanoparticle design and understanding of nanoparticle membrane interactions have led to applications in magnetically triggered, liposome delivery vehicles with controlled structure. Here we study the effect of external physical stimuli—such as millimeter wave radiation—on the induced movement of giant lipid vesicles in suspension containing or not containing iron oxide maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) nanoparticles (MNPs). To increase our understanding of this phenomenon, we used a new microscope image-based analysis to reveal millimeter wave (MMW)-induced effects on the movement of the vesicles. We found that in the lipid vesicles not containing MNPs, an exposure to MMW induced collective reorientation of vesicle motion occurring at the onset of MMW switch “on.” Instead, no marked changes in the movements of lipid vesicles containing MNPs were observed at the onset of first MMW switch on, but, importantly, by examining the course followed; once the vesicles are already irradiated, a directional motion of vesicles was induced. The latter vesicles were characterized by a planar motion, absence of gravitational effects, and having trajectories spanning a range of deflection angles narrower than vesicles not containing MNPs. An explanation for this observed delayed response could be attributed to the possible interaction of MNPs with components of lipid membrane that, influencing, e.g., phospholipids density and membrane stiffening, ultimately leads to change vesicle movement.


Giant unilamellar vesicles Magnetoliposomes Millimeter waves Vesicle motion Image-based automatic analysis Optical microscopy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13346_2018_572_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (239 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 239 kb)


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Copyright information

© Controlled Release Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Albini
    • 1
  • Massimo Salvi
    • 2
  • Emiliano Altamura
    • 3
  • Simone Dinarelli
    • 4
  • Loreto Di Donato
    • 5
  • Andrea Lucibello
    • 6
  • Fabio Mavelli
    • 3
  • Filippo Molinari
    • 2
  • Umberto Morbiducci
    • 2
  • Alfonsina Ramundo-Orlando
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Translational PharmacologyCNRRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringPolitecnico di TorinoTurinItaly
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of BariBariItaly
  4. 4.Institute of Structural MatterCNRRomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of Electrical, Electronics, and Computer EngineeringUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  6. 6.Institute of Microelectronics and MicrosystemsCNRRomeItaly

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