On-chip Ultrasound Stimulation Compatible with Patch-clamp to Investigate the Mechanism of Ultrasound Neuro-modulation

Date:28-08-2018   |   【Print】 【close

With an increase in the incidence of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and Parkinson’s disease, their treatment is gaining intense attention from a variety of disciplines from physiology to neurology.Ultrasound stimulation, as a novel and non-invasive technique for neuro-modulation, shows a great potential in the treatment of functional brain diseases.


A research team led by Prof. ZHENG Hairong at the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, developed various neuro-modulation tools for different scales from single neuron, animal models to macaques.


The bulk volume of commercial ultrasound transducers is not compatible with the classical electrophysiological technique. Thus, it is difficult to study the biophysical transduction mechanism 0f ultrasound stimulation at the single cell level using patch clamp. In this study, they developed an ultrasound neuro-modulation chip to investigate the ultrasonic effects on the level of ion channels in the pyramidal neurons using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings .


The small size and the transparent character make the device readily capable of integration with the commercial calcium imaging and electrophysiological tools. This device provide a powerful tool for investigating the mechanism of ultrasound stimulation at the micro-scale level.


Action potentials in pyramidal neurons could be triggered by this ultrasound neuro-modulation chip. Also, the firing frequency of action potentials was related to the acoustic energy applied to the neurons. The active and passive membrane properties of pyramidal neurons were measured to evaluate the ultrasound effects on ion channels. With an increase in the total TTX-sensitive sodium currents and a change in sodium channel kinetics, the results indicated that ultrasound stimulation activate the pyramidal neurons via the sodium channels.


The paper titled “On-chip Ultrasound Modulation of Pyramidal Neuronal Activity in Hippocampal Slices” was published in Advanced Biosystems as an Outside Front Cover on July 13, 2018



Fig. Schematic of ultrasound neuro-modulation system for stimulating hippocampal slices (a-b) and activation of pyramidal neurons by the different intensities of ultrasound stimulation (c-d).