IJMS, Vol. 24, Pages 2578: Weak Ultrasound Contributes to Neuromodulatory Effects in the Rat Motor Cortex
International Journal of Molecular Sciences doi: 10.3390/ijms24032578
Authors: Po-Chun Chu Chen-Syuan Huang Pi-Kai Chang Rou-Shayn Chen Ko-Ting Chen Tsung-Hsun Hsieh Hao-Li Liu
Transcranial focused ultrasound (tFUS) is a novel neuromodulating technique. It has been demonstrated that the neuromodulatory effects can be induced by weak ultrasound exposure levels (spatial-peak temporal average intensity, ISPTA &lt; 10 mW/cm2) in vitro. However, fewer studies have examined the use of weak tFUS to potentially induce long-lasting neuromodulatory responses in vivo. The purpose of this study was to determine the lower-bound threshold of tFUS stimulation for inducing neuromodulation in the motor cortex of rats. A total of 94 Sprague&ndash;Dawley rats were used. The sonication region aimed at the motor cortex under weak tFUS exposure (ISPTA of 0.338&ndash;12.15 mW/cm2). The neuromodulatory effects of tFUS on the motor cortex were evaluated by the changes in motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In addition to histology analysis, the in vitro cell culture was used to confirm the neuromodulatory mechanisms following tFUS stimulation. In the results, the dose-dependent inhibitory effects of tFUS were found, showing increased intensities of tFUS suppressed MEPs and lasted for 30 min. Weak tFUS significantly decreased the expression of excitatory neurons and increased the expression of inhibitory GABAergic neurons. The PIEZO-1 proteins of GABAergic neurons were found to involve in the inhibitory neuromodulation. In conclusion, we show the use of weak ultrasound to induce long-lasting neuromodulatory effects and explore the potential use of weak ultrasound for future clinical neuromodulatory applications.