This study investigates the spatial profile and the temporal latency of the brain stimulation induced by the transcranial application of pulsed focused ultrasound (FUS). The site of neuromodulation was detected using 2-deoxy-2-[¹⁸F]fluoro-D-glucose PET immediately after FUS sonication on the unilateral thalamic area of Sprague-Dawley rats. The latency of the stimulation was estimated by measuring the time taken from the onset of the stimulation of the appropriate brain motor area to the corresponding tail motor response. The brain area showing elevated glucose uptake from the PET image was much smaller (56±10% in diameter, 24±6% in length) than the size of the acoustic focus, which is conventionally defined by the full-width at half-maximum of the acoustic intensity field. The spatial dimension of the FUS-mediated neuromodulatory area was more localized, approximated to be full-width at 90%-maximum of the acoustic intensity field. In addition, the time delay of motor responses elicited by the FUS sonication was 171±63 (SD) ms from the onset of sonication. When compared with latencies of other nonultrasonic neurostimulation techniques, the longer time delay associated with FUS-mediated motor responses is suggestive of the nonelectrical modes of neuromodulation, making it a distinctive brain stimulation method.
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