[Abstract] Modulation of Cerebellar Cortical Plasticity Using Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Poststroke Sensorimotor Function Recovery

Background. Stroke affects widespread brain regions through interhemispheric connections by influencing bilateral motor activity. Several noninvasive brain stimulation techniques have proved their capacity to compensate the functional loss by manipulating the neural activity of alternative pathways. Over the past few decades, brain stimulation therapies have been tailored within the theoretical framework of modulation of cortical excitability to enhance adaptive plasticity after stroke.

Objective. However, considering the vast difference between animal and human cerebral cortical structures, it is important to approach specific neuronal target starting from the higher order brain structure for human translation. The present study focuses on stimulating the lateral cerebellar nucleus (LCN), which sends major cerebellar output to extensive cortical regions.

Methods. In this study, in vivo stroke mouse LCN was exposed to low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU). After the LIFU exposure, animals underwent 4 weeks of rehabilitative training.

Results. During the cerebellar LIFU session, motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were generated in both forelimbs accompanying excitatory sonication parameter. LCN stimulation group on day 1 after stroke significantly enhanced sensorimotor recovery compared with the group without stimulation. The recovery has maintained for a 4-week period in 2 behavior tests. Furthermore, we observed a significantly decreased level of brain edema and tissue swelling in the affected hemisphere 3 days after the stroke.

Conclusions. This study provides the first evidence showing that LIFU-induced cerebellar modulation could be an important strategy for poststroke recovery. A longer follow-up study is, however, necessary in order to fully confirm the effects of LIFU on poststroke recovery.

via Modulation of Cerebellar Cortical Plasticity Using Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Poststroke Sensorimotor Function Recovery – Hongchae Baek, Ki Joo Pahk, Min-Ju Kim, Inchan Youn, Hyungmin Kim, 2018

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