Focused ultrasound modulates the level of cortical neurotransmitters: Potential as a new functional brain mapping technique

Byoung-Kyong Min, Po Song Yang, Mark Bohlke, Shin Suk Park, David R.vago, Timothy J. Maher, Seung Schik Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Regional modulation of the level of cortical neurotransmitters in the brain would serve as a new functional brain mapping technique to interrogate the neurochemical actions of the brain. We investigated the utility of the application of low-intensity, pulsed sonication of focused ultrasound (FUS) to the brain to modulate the extracellular level of dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT). FUS was delivered to the thalamic areas of rats, and extracellular DA and 5-HT were sampled from the frontal lobe using the microdialysis technique. The concentration changes of the sampled DA and 5-HT were measured through high-performance liquid chromatography. We observed a significant increase of the extracellular concentrations of DA and 5-HT in the FUS-treated group as compared with those in the unsonicated group. Our results provide the first direct evidence that FUS sonication alters the level of extracellular concentration of these monoamine neurotransmitters and has a potential modulatory effect on their local release, uptake, or degradation. Our findings suggest that the pulsed application of FUS offers new perspectives for a possible noninvasive modulation of neurotransmitters and may have diagnostic as well as therapeutic implications for DA/5-HT-mediated neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Imaging Systems and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun


  • dopamine
  • high-performance liquid chromatography
  • microdialysis
  • neuromodulation
  • serotonin
  • sonication
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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