Deep brain nuclei are integral components of large-scale circuits mediating important cognitive and sensorimotor functions. However, because they fall outside the domain of conventional non-invasive neuromodulatory techniques, their study has been primarily based on neuropsychological models, limiting the ability to fully characterize their role and to develop interventions in cases where they are damaged. To address this gap, we used the emerging technology of non-invasive low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) to directly modulate left lateralized basal ganglia structures in healthy volunteers. During sonication, we observed local and distal decreases in blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal in the targeted left globus pallidus (GP) and in large-scale cortical networks. We also observed a generalized decrease in relative perfusion throughout the cerebrum following sonication. These results show, for the first time using functional MRI data, the ability to modulate deep-brain nuclei using LIFU while measuring its local and global consequences, opening the door for future applications of subcortical LIFU.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience