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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Feb 2020 - 7 Feb 2020

Animal Studies

2020 03 01



Effects of external low intensity focused ultrasound on electrophysiological changes in vivo in a rodent model of common peroneal nerve injury.


Hellman A, Maietta T, Byraju K, Park Y L, Liss A, Prabhala T, Neubauer P, Williams E, Burdette C, Shin DS, Ghoshal G, Nalwalk J, Agrawal A, Qian J, Pilitsis J
Neuroscience. 2020 03 01; 429:264-272.
PMID: 32001366.


Non-invasive treatment methods for neuropathic pain are lacking. We assess how modulatory low intensity focused ultrasound (liFUS) at the L5 dorsal root ganglion (DRG) affects behavioral responses and sensory nerve action potentials (SNAPs) in a common peroneal nerve injury (CPNI) model. Rats were assessed for mechanical and thermal responses using Von Frey filaments (VFF) and the hot plate test (HPT) following CPNI surgery. Testing was repeated 24 h after liFUS treatment. Significant increases in mechanical and thermal sensory thresholds were seen post-liFUS treatment, indicating a reduction in sensitivity to pain (p < 0.0001, p = 0.02, respectively). Animals who received CPNI surgery had significant increases in SNAP latencies compared to sham CPNI surgery animals (p = 0.0003) before liFUS treatment. LiFUS induced significant reductions in SNAP latency in both CPNI liFUS and sham CPNI liFUS cohorts, for up to 35 min post treatment. No changes were seen in SNAP amplitude and there was no evidence of neuronal degeneration 24 h after liFUS treatment, showing that liFUS did not damage the tissue being modulated. This is the first in vivo study of the impact of liFUS on peripheral nerve electrophysiology in a model of chronic pain. Perspective: This study demonstrates the effects of liFUS on peripheral nerve electrophysiology in vivo. We found that external liFUS treatment results in transient decreased latency in common peroneal nerve (CPN) sensory nerve action potentials (SNAPs) with no change in signal amplitude.