Optoacoustic Brain Stimulation at Submillimeter Spatial Precision

Published on Feb 14, 2020in Nature Communications14.919
· DOI :10.1038/S41467-020-14706-1
Ying Jiang4
Estimated H-index: 4
(BU: Boston University),
Hyeon Jeong Lee11
Estimated H-index: 11
+ 5 AuthorsJi-Xin Cheng84
Estimated H-index: 84
Low-intensity ultrasound is an emerging modality for neuromodulation. Yet, transcranial neuromodulation using low-frequency piezo-based transducers offers poor spatial confinement of excitation volume, often bigger than a few millimeters in diameter. In addition, the bulky size limits their implementation in a wearable setting and prevents integration with other experimental modalities. Here, we report spatially confined optoacoustic neural stimulation through a miniaturized Fiber-Optoacoustic Converter (FOC). The FOC has a diameter of 600 μm and generates omnidirectional ultrasound wave locally at the fiber tip through the optoacoustic effect. We show that the acoustic wave generated by FOC can directly activate individual cultured neurons and generate intracellular Ca2+ transients. The FOC activates neurons within a radius of 500 μm around the fiber tip, delivering superior spatial resolution over conventional piezo-based low-frequency transducers. Finally, we demonstrate direct and spatially confined neural stimulation of mouse brain and modulation of motor activity in vivo. Low-intensity ultrasound can be used for neuromodulation in vivo, but it has poor spatial confinement and can result in unwanted cochlear pathway activation. Here the authors use the optoacoustic effect to generate spatially confined ultrasound waves to activate neurons within a 500 μm radius in the mouse brain.
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