Study of Galfenol direct cytotoxicity and remote microactuation in cells

Carolina Vargas-Estevez, Andreu Blanquer, Prabesh Dulal, Rafael Pérez del Real, Marta Duch, Elena Ibáñez, Leonardo Barrios, Gonzalo Murillo, Núria Torras, Carme Nogués, Bethanie J.H. Stadler, José A. Plaza, Jaume Esteve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Remote microactuators are of great interest in biology and medicine as minimally-invasive tools for cellular stimulation. Remote actuation can be achieved by active magnetostrictive transducers which are capable of changing shape in response to external magnetic fields thereby creating controlled displacements. Among the magnetostrictive materials, Galfenol, the multifaceted iron-based smart material, offers high magnetostriction with robust mechanical properties. In order to explore these capabilities for biomedical applications, it is necessary to study the feasibility of material miniaturization in standard fabrication processes as well as evaluate the biocompatibility. Here we develop a technology to fabricate, release, and suspend Galfenol-based microparticles, without affecting the integrity of the material. The morphology, composition and magnetic properties of the material itself are characterized. The direct cytotoxicity of Galfenol is evaluated in vitro using human macrophages, osteoblast and osteosarcoma cells. In addition, cytotoxicity and actuation of Galfenol microparticles in suspension are evaluated using human macrophages. The biological parameters analyzed indicate that Galfenol is not cytotoxic, even after internalization of some of the particles by macrophages. The microparticles were remotely actuated forming intra- and extracellular chains that did not impact the integrity of the cells. The results propose Galfenol as a suitable material to develop remote microactuators for cell biology studies and intracellular applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Spanish Government through the project MINAHE 5 (No. TEC2014-51940-C1) and ENVBIOPORAL (No. MAT2014-57960-C3-3-R), the predoctoral FPI grant (No. BES-2012-052105), the NANONEURO project PIE201350E110 (CSIC) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (2014-SGR-524). A.B. was supported by a predoctoral grant from the Universitat Aut?noma de Barcelona. We wish to thank as well the IMB-CNM Clean Room (Barcelona, Spain), Prof. William P. Robbins of University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, USA) for his support to perform the magnetostrictive measurements and the Institute for Rock Magnetism (Minneapolis, USA) for its facilities.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Biocompatibility
  • Galfenol
  • Magnetostriction
  • Microactuators
  • Osteoblast
  • Smart materials


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