Dr. Eduardo Juan

University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus


“Ultrasound-Induced Neuroplasticity”

Project Summary

Successful neuromodulation approaches for the treatment of neurological disorders should be safe, effective, minimally invasive, and have good spatial resolution. Approaches such as electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) and optogenetics offer excellent spatial resolution, but are highly invasive. On the other

end, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is non-invasive but has poor spatial resolution and lacks penetration depth. The use of focused ultrasonic waves to modulate the activity of neural structures has

gained recent interest due to its potential in treating neurological disorders noninvasively and with good

spatial resolution [1-6]. Specifically, transcranial low intensity focused pulsed ultrasound (tcLIFPUS) is a minimally invasive technique that has high spatial resolution and is non-invasive, allowing the neuromodulation of specific regions of the brain.

Our long-term goal is to develop new ultrasound-based therapies to treat neurological disorders such as,

addiction, epilepsy, depression and Parkinson’s disease effectively, safely and non-invasively. The significance of the proposed study lies in the potential discovery of a new approach to induce neuroplasticity safely and non-invasively.

The objective of this proposal is to determine the efficacy of employing low intensity focused pulsed ultrasound (LIFPUS) to induce long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD) in the rat brain.

Our working hypothesis is that LIFPUS applied at high pulse repetition frequencies (PRF, >60Hz) will induce

LTP in the brain, while the use of low pulse repetition frequencies (<10Hz) will induce LTD. The rationale for the proposed research is that, once the efficacy and safety of employing LIFPUS for inducing LTP or LTD is known, future studies could be performed to determine if LIFPUS can be employed to re-program brain regions in order to revert unwanted behaviors.