Vagus Nerve Modulation Using Focused Pulsed Ultrasound: Potential Applications and Preliminary Observations in a Rat

Int J Imaging Syst Technol. 2014 Mar 1;24(1):67-71. doi: 10.1002/ima.22080.


The use of focused ultrasonic waves to modulate neural structures has gained recent interest due to its potential in treating neurological disorders non-invasively. While several papers have focused on the use of ultrasound neuromodulation on peripheral nerves, none of these studies have been performed on the vagus nerve. We present preliminary observations on the effects of focused pulsed ultrasound (FPUS) on the conduction of the left cervical vagus nerve of a Long Evans rat. Ultrasound energy was applied at a frequency of 1.1 MHz, and at spatial-peak, temporal average intensities that ranged from 13.6 to 93.4 W/cm2. Vagus nerve inhibition was observed in most cases. Results of this preliminary study suggested that there is a proportional relationship between acoustic intensity and the level of nerve inhibition.

Keywords: acoustic neuromodulation; focused ultrasound; nerve modulation; vagus nerve.