Noninvasive transcranial stimulation of rat abducens nerve by focused ultrasound

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2012 Sep;38(9):1568-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.04.023. Epub 2012 Jul 3.


Nonpharmacologic and nonsurgical transcranial modulation of the nerve function may provide new opportunities in evaluation and treatment of cranial nerve diseases. This study investigates the possibility of using low-intensity transcranial focused ultrasound (FUS) to selectively stimulate the rat abducens nerve located above the base of the skull. FUS (frequencies of 350 kHz and 650 kHz) operating in a pulsed mode was applied to the abducens nerve of Sprague-Dawley rats under stereotactic guidance. The abductive eyeball movement ipsilateral to the side of sonication was observed at 350 kHz, using the 0.36-msec tone burst duration (TBD), 1.5-kHz pulse repetition frequency (PRF), and the overall sonication duration of 200 msec. Histologic and behavioral monitoring showed no signs of disruption in the blood brain barrier (BBB), as well as no damage to the nerves and adjacent brain tissue resulting from the sonication. As a novel functional neuro-modulatory modality, the pulsed application of FUS has potential for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in diseases of the peripheral nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abducens Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Abducens Nerve / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Eye Movements
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / methods*
  • Ultrasonography