The Mechanosensitive Ion Channel Piezo1 Significantly Mediates In Vitro Ultrasonic Stimulation of Neurons

iScience. 2019 Nov 22;21:448-457. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.10.037. Epub 2019 Oct 23.


Ultrasound brain stimulation is a promising modality for probing brain function and treating brain disease non-invasively and with high spatiotemporal resolution. However, the mechanism underlying its effects remains unclear. Here, we examine the role that the mouse piezo-type mechanosensitive ion channel component 1 (Piezo1) plays in mediating the in vitro effects of ultrasound in mouse primary cortical neurons and a neuronal cell line. We show that ultrasound alone could activate heterologous and endogenous Piezo1, initiating calcium influx and increased nuclear c-Fos expression in primary neurons but not when pre-treated with a Piezo1 inhibitor. We also found that ultrasound significantly increased the expression of the important proteins phospho-CaMKII, phospho-CREB, and c-Fos in a neuronal cell line, but Piezo1 knockdown significantly reduced this effect. Our findings demonstrate that the activity of mechanosensitive ion channels such as Piezo1 stimulated by ultrasound is an important contributor to its ability to stimulate cells in vitro.

Keywords: Cellular Neuroscience; Molecular Neuroscience; Neuroscience; Sensory Neuroscience.