Manipulation of Subcortical and Deep Cortical Activity in the Primate Brain Using Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Stimulation

Neuron. 2019 Mar 20;101(6):1109-1116.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.01.019. Epub 2019 Feb 11.


The causal role of an area within a neural network can be determined by interfering with its activity and measuring the impact. Many current reversible manipulation techniques have limitations preventing their application, particularly in deep areas of the primate brain. Here, we demonstrate that a focused transcranial ultrasound stimulation (TUS) protocol impacts activity even in deep brain areas: a subcortical brain structure, the amygdala (experiment 1), and a deep cortical region, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC, experiment 2), in macaques. TUS neuromodulatory effects were measured by examining relationships between activity in each area and the rest of the brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In control conditions without sonication, activity in a given area is related to activity in interconnected regions, but such relationships are reduced after sonication, specifically for the targeted areas. Dissociable and focal effects on neural activity could not be explained by auditory confounds.

Keywords: amygdala; cingulate cortex; functional connectivity; limbic; macaque monkey; neuromodulation; resting-state connectivity; transcranial stimulation; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / diagnostic imaging
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Amygdala / radiation effects*
  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain / radiation effects
  • Brain Mapping
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / radiation effects*
  • Macaca
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / radiation effects
  • Ultrasonic Waves*