Localization of ultrasound-induced in vivo neurostimulation in the mouse model

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2014 Jul;40(7):1512-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2014.01.020. Epub 2014 Mar 15.


Developments in the use of ultrasound to stimulate and modulate neural activity have raised the possibility of using ultrasound as a new investigative and therapeutic tool in brain research. Although the phenomenon of ultrasound-induced neurostimulation has a long history dating back many decades, until now there has been little evidence of a clearly localized effect in the brain, a necessary requirement for the technique to become genuinely useful. Here we report clearly distinguishable effects in sonicating rostral and caudal regions of the mouse motor cortex. Motor responses measured by normalized electromyography in the neck and tail regions changed significantly when sonicating the two different areas of motor cortex. Response latencies varied significantly according to sonication location, suggesting that different neural circuits are activated depending on the precise focus of the ultrasound beam. Taken together, our findings present good evidence of the ability to target selective parts of the motor cortex with ultrasound neurostimulation in the mouse, an advance that should help to set the stage for developing new applications in larger animal models, including humans.

Keywords: Brain; Electromyography; In vivo; Neuromodulation; Neurostimulation; Therapeutic ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons, Efferent / physiology*
  • Sonication / methods*