Non-invasive, molecularly-specific, focal modulation of brain circuits with low off-target effects can lead to breakthroughs in treatments of brain disorders. We systemically inject engineered ultrasound-controllable drug carriers and subsequently apply a novel two-component Aggregation and Uncaging Focused Ultrasound Sequence (AU-FUS) at the desired targets inside the brain. The first sequence aggregates drug carriers with millimeter-precision by orders of magnitude. The second sequence uncages the carrier’s cargo locally to achieve high target specificity without compromising the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Upon release from the carriers, drugs locally cross the intact BBB. We show circuit-specific manipulation of sensory signaling in motor cortex in rats by locally concentrating and releasing a GABAA receptor agonist from ultrasound-controlled carriers. Our approach uses orders of magnitude (1300x) less drug than is otherwise required by systemic injection and requires very low ultrasound pressures (20-fold below FDA safety limits for diagnostic imaging). We show that the BBB remains intact using passive cavitation detection (PCD), MRI-contrast agents and, importantly, also by sensitive fluorescent dye extravasation and immunohistochemistry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)