Measuring cellular ion transport by magnetoencephalography

Sudhir Kumar Sharma, Sauparnika Vijay, Sangram Gore, Timothy M. Dore, Ramesh Jagannathan

Research output: Other contribution


The cellular-level process of ion transport is known to generate a magnetic field. A non-invasive magnetoencephalography (MEG) technique was used to measure the magnetic field emanating from HeLa, HEK293 and H9c2(2-1) rat cardiac cells. The addition of a non-lethal dose of ionomycin to HeLa and capsaicin to TRPV1-expressing HEK293 cells, respectively, resulted in a sudden change in the magnetic field signal consistent with Ca2+ influx, which was also observed by confocal fluorescence microscopy under the same conditions. In contrast, addition of capsaicin to TRPV1-expressing HEK293 cells containing an optimum amount of Ca2+ channel blockers, a TRPV1 antagonist (ruthenium red), resulted in no detectable magnetic or fluorescent signals. These signals confirmed that the measured MEG signals are due to cellular ion transport through the cell membrane. In general, there is evidence that ion channel/transporter activation and ionic flux are linked to cancer; Therefore, our work suggests that MEG could represent a non-invasive method for detecting cancer.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Mar 5 2020

Publication series



  • Ca 2+ channel blockers
  • H9c2(2-1) rat cardiac cells
  • HEK293 cells
  • HeLa cells
  • Magnetic fields
  • Magnetoencephalography(MEG)

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