Influence of Acoustic Parameters and Sonication Schemes on Transcranial Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption Induced by Pulsed Weakly Focused Ultrasound

Yu-Hone Hsu, Wei-Chung Lee, Shing-Shung Chu, Meng-En Chao, Kuo-Sheng Wu, Ren-Shyan Liu, Tai-Tong Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pulsed ultrasound combined with microbubbles use can disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB) temporarily; this technique opens a temporal window to deliver large therapeutic molecules into brain tissue. There are published studies to discuss the efficacy and safety of the different ultrasound parameters, microbubble dosages and sizes, and sonication schemes on BBB disruption, but optimal the paradigm is still under investigation. Our study is aimed to investigate how different sonication parameters, time, and microbubble dose can affect BBB disruption, the dynamics of BBB disruption, and the efficacy of different sonication schemes on BBB disruption. Method: We used pulsed weakly focused ultrasound to open the BBB of C57/B6 mice. Evans blue dye (EBD) was used to determine the degree of BBB disruption. With a given acoustic pressure of 0.56 MPa and pulse repetitive frequency of 1 Hz, burst lengths of 10 ms to 50 ms, microbubbles of 100 μL/kg to 300 μL/kg, and sonication times of 60 s to 150 s were used to open the BBB for parameter study. Brain EBD accumulation was measured at 1, 4, and 24 h after sonication for the time-response relationship study; EBD of 100 mg/kg to 200 mg/kg was administered for the dose-response relationship study; EBD injection 0 to 6 h after sonication was performed for the BBB disruption dynamic study; brain EBD accumulation induced by one sonication and two sonications was investigated to study the effectiveness on BBB disruption; and a histology study was performed for brain tissue damage evaluation. Results: Pulsed weakly focused ultrasound opens the BBB extensively. Longer burst lengths and a larger microbubble dose result in a higher degree of BBB disruption; a sonication time longer than 60 s did not increase BBB disruption; brain EBD accumulation peaks 1 h after sonication and remains 81% of the peak level 24 h after sonication; the EBD dose administered correlates with brain EBD accumulation; BBB disruption decreases as time goes on after sonication and lasts for 6 h at least; and brain EBD accumulation induced by two sonication increases 74.8% of that induced by one sonication. There was limited adverse effects associated with sonication, including petechial hemorrhages and mild neuronal degeneration. Conclusions: BBB can be opened extensively and reversibly by pulsed weakly focused ultrasound with limited brain tissue damage. Since EBD combines with albumin in plasma to form a conjugate of 83 kDa, these results may simulate ultrasound-induced brain delivery of therapeutic molecules of this size scale. The result of our study may contribute to finding the optimal paradigm of focused ultrasound-induced BBB disruption.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 6 2022


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