Power cavitation-guided blood-brain barrier opening with focused ultrasound and microbubbles

Phys Med Biol. 2018 Mar 15;63(6):065009. doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/aab05c.


Image-guided monitoring of microbubble-based focused ultrasound (FUS) therapies relies on the accurate localization of FUS-stimulated microbubble activity (i.e. acoustic cavitation). Passive cavitation imaging with ultrasound arrays can achieve this, but with insufficient spatial resolution. In this study, we address this limitation and perform high-resolution monitoring of acoustic cavitation-mediated blood-brain barrier (BBB) opening with a new technique called power cavitation imaging. By synchronizing the FUS transmit and passive receive acquisition, high-resolution passive cavitation imaging was achieved by using delay and sum beamforming with absolute time delays. Since the axial image resolution is now dependent on the duration of the received acoustic cavitation emission, short pulses of FUS were used to limit its duration. Image sets were acquired at high-frame rates for calculation of power cavitation images analogous to power Doppler imaging. Power cavitation imaging displays the mean intensity of acoustic cavitation over time and was correlated with areas of acoustic cavitation-induced BBB opening. Power cavitation-guided BBB opening with FUS could constitute a standalone system that may not require MRI guidance during the procedure. The same technique can be used for other acoustic cavitation-based FUS therapies, for both safety and guidance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics*
  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / diagnostic imaging*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microbubbles*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*