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Ultrasound modulation of the central and peripheral nervous system

Description

Noninvasive neuromodulation could help treat many neurological disorders, but existing techniques have low resolution and weak penetration. Ultrasound (US) shows promise for stimulation of smaller areas and subcortical structures. However,

Noninvasive neuromodulation could help treat many neurological disorders, but existing techniques have low resolution and weak penetration. Ultrasound (US) shows promise for stimulation of smaller areas and subcortical structures. However, the mechanism and parameter design are not understood. US can stimulate tail and hindlimb movements in rats, but not forelimb, for unknown reasons. Potentially, US could also stimulate peripheral or enteric neurons for control of blood glucose.

To better understand the inconsistent effects across rat motor cortex, US modulation of electrically-evoked movements was tested. A stimulation array was implanted on the cortical surface and US (200 kHz, 30-60 W/cm2 peak) was applied while measuring changes in the evoked forelimb and hindlimb movements. Direct US stimulation of the hindlimb was also studied. To test peripheral effects, rat blood glucose levels were measured while applying US near the liver.

No short-term motor modulation was visible (95% confidence interval: -3.5% to +5.1% forelimb, -3.8% to +5.5% hindlimb). There was significant long-term (minutes-order) suppression (95% confidence interval: -3.7% to -10.8% forelimb, -3.8% to -11.9% hindlimb). This suppression may be due to the considerable heating (+1.8°C between US
on-US conditions); effects of heat and US were not separable in this experiment. US directly evoked hindlimb and scrotum movements in some sessions. This required a long interval, at least 3 seconds between US bursts. Movement could be evoked with much shorter pulses than used in literature (3 ms). The EMG latency (10 ms) was compatible with activation of corticospinal neurons. The glucose modulation test showed a strong increase in a few trials, but across all trials found no significant effect.

The single motor response and the long refractory period together suggest that only the beginning of the US burst had a stimulatory effect. This would explain the lack of short-term modulation, and suggests future work with shorter pulses could better explore the missing forelimb response. During the refractory period there was no change in the electrically-evoked response, which suggests the US stimulation mechanism is independent of normal brain activity. These results challenge the literature-standard protocols and provide new insights on the unknown mechanism.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Novel protein delivery platforms to modulate SDF-1a/CXCR4 signaling in the adult cortex

Description

Stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) and its key receptor, CXCR4 are ubiquitously expressed in systems across the body (e.g. liver, skin, lung, etc.). This signaling axis regulates a myriad of physiological

Stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) and its key receptor, CXCR4 are ubiquitously expressed in systems across the body (e.g. liver, skin, lung, etc.). This signaling axis regulates a myriad of physiological processes that range from maintaining of organ homeostasis in adults to, chemotaxis of stem/progenitor and immune cell types after injury. Given its potential role as a therapeutic target for diverse applications, surprisingly little is known about how SDF-1α mediated signaling propagates through native tissues. This limitation ultimately constrains rational design of interventional biomaterials that aim to target the SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling axis. One application of particular interest is traumatic brain injury (TBI) for which, there are currently no means of targeting the underlying biochemical pathology to improve prognosis.

Growing evidence suggests a relationship between SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling and endogenous neural progenitor/stem cells (NPSC)-mediated regeneration after neural injury. Long-term modulation of the SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling axis is thus hypothesized as a possible avenue for harnessing and amplifying endogenous regenerative mechanisms after TBI. In order to understand how the SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling can be modulated in vivo, we first developed and characterized a sustained protein delivery platform in vitro. We were the first, to our knowledge, to demonstrate that protein release profiles from poly(D,L,-lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) particles can be tuned independent of particle fabrication parameters via centrifugal fractioning. This process of physically separating the particles altered the average diameter of a particle population, which is in turn was correlated to critical release characteristics. Secondly, we demonstrated sustained release of SDF-1α from PLGA/fibrin composites (particles embedded in fibrin) with tunable burst release as a function of fibrin concentration. Finally, we contrasted the spatiotemporal localization of endogenous SDF-1α and CXCR4 expression in response to either bolus or sustained release of exogenous SDF-1α. Sustained release of exogenous SDF-1α induced spatially diffuse endogenous SDF-1/CXCR4 expression relative to bolus SDF-1 administration; however, the observed effects were transient in both cases, persisting only to a maximum of 3 days post injection. These studies will inform future systematic evaluations of strategies that exploit SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling for diverse applications.

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Date Created
  • 2016