NYMC Faculty Publications


Longitudinal Functional Assessment of Brain Injury Induced by High-Intensity Ultrasound Pulse Sequences

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October 2019




Exposure of the brain to high-intensity stress waves creates the potential for long-term functional deficits not related to thermal or cavitational damage. Possible sources of such exposure include overpressure from blast explosions or high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). While current ultrasound clinical protocols do not normally produce long-term neurological deficits, the rapid expansion of potential therapeutic applications and ultrasound pulse-train protocols highlights the importance of establishing a safety envelope beyond which therapeutic ultrasound can cause neurological deficits not detectable by standard histological assessment for thermal and cavitational damage. In this study, we assessed the neuroinflammatory response, behavioral effects, and brain micro-electrocorticographic (microECoG) signals in mice following exposure to a train of transcranial pulses above normal clinical parameters. We found that the HIFU exposure induced a mild regional neuroinflammation not localized to the primary focal site, and impaired locomotor and exploratory behavior for up to 1 month post-exposure. In addition, low frequency (delta) and high frequency (beta, gamma) oscillations recorded by ECoG were altered at acute and chronic time points following HIFU application. ECoG signal changes on the hemisphere ipsilateral to HIFU exposure are of greater magnitude than the contralateral hemisphere, and persist for up to three months. These results are useful for describing the upper limit of transcranial ultrasound protocols, and the neurological sequelae of injury induced by high-intensity stress waves.