Deep brain stimulation using u/s and genetic modification

July 9, 2021 0 By FM

Yaoheng Yang et al have developed a technique called sonothermogenetics, which combines ultrasound and genetic modification to achieve non-invasive neural control in deep brain regions. It relies on delivering viral vectors to the brain that can target specific neurons. The vectors carry genetic material that codes for thermosensitive ion channels. Once a neuron expresses these channels, it can then be targeted using an externally applied ultrasound probe, which can create heat within a small area of the brain (~1 mm). This activates the ion channels effectively, allowing researchers to turn specific neurons on or off. The research team tested the technique in mice and delivered the thermosensitive ion channel TRPV1 to specific neurons while using a head-mounted ultrasound unit to achieve localised heating. Focused ultrasound sonication (FUS) at the mouse brain selectively activated neurons that were genetically modified to express TRPV1. Ultrasound stimulation of TRPV1-expressing neurons at the striatum repeatedly evoked locomotor behaviour in freely moving mice. FUS sonication was confirmed to be safe based on inspection of neuronal integrity, inflammation, and apoptosis markers. The new approach may lead to effective non-invasive treatments for several human brain disorders.

Source: Brain Stimulation| May 10, 2021, | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brs.2021.04.021| https://www.brainstimjrnl.com/article/S1935-861X(21)00091-7/fulltext