Background: Focused ultrasound (FUS) has excellent characteristics over other non-invasive stimulation methods in terms of spatial resolution and steering capability of the target. FUS has not been tested in the cerebellar cortex and cellular effects of FUS are not fully understood. Objective/hypothesis: To investigate how the activity of cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) is modulated by FUS with varying pulse durations and pulse repetition frequencies. Methods: A glass microelectrode was inserted into the cerebellar vermis lobule 6 from the dorsal side to extracellularly record single unit activity of the PCs in anesthetized rats. Ultrasonic stimulation (500 kHz) was applied through a coupling cone, filled with degassed water, from the posterior side to target the recording area with varying pulse durations and frequencies. Results: Simple spike (SS) activity of PCs was entrained by the FUS pattern where the probability of spike occurrences peaked at around 1 ms following the onset of the stimulus regardless of its duration (0.5, 1, or 2 ms). The level of entrainment was stronger with shorter pulse durations at 50-Hz pulse repetition frequency (PRF), however, peri-event histograms spread wider and the peaks delayed slightly at 100-Hz PRF, suggesting involvement of a long-lasting inhibitory mechanism. There was no significant difference between the average firing rates in the baseline and stimulation periods. Conclusion: FUS can entrain spiking activity of single cells on a spike-by-spike basis as demonstrated here in the rat cerebellar cortex. The observed modulation potentially results from the aggregate of excitatory and inhibitory effects of FUS on the entire cortical network rather than on the PCs alone.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Cerebellar cortex
- Focused ultrasound stimulation