Mechanical and mechanothermal effects of focused ultrasound elicited distinct electromyographic responses in mice

Hongchae Baek, Yaoheng Yang, Christopher Pham Pacia, Lu Xu, Yimei Yue, Michael R. Bruchas, Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to compare focused ultrasound (FUS) neuromodulation-induced motor responses under two physical mechanisms: mechanical and mechanothermal effects. Mice were divided into two groups. One group was subjected to short-duration FUS stimulation (0.3 s) that induced mechanical effects (mechanical group). The other group underwent long-duration FUS stimulation (15 s) that produced not only mechanical but also thermal effects (mechanothermal group). FUS was targeted at the deep cerebellar nucleus in the cerebellum to induce motor responses, which were evaluated by recording the evoked electromyographic (EMG) signals and tail movements. Brain tissue temperature rise associated with the FUS stimulation was quantified by noninvasive magnetic resonance thermometry in vivo. Temperature rise was negligible for the mechanical group (0.2 °C ± 0.1 °C) but did rise within the range of 0.6 °C ± 0.2 °C-3.3 °C ± 0.9 °C for the mechanothermal group. The elongated FUS beam also induced heating in the dorsal brain (below the top skull) and ventral brain (above the bottom skull) along the beam path for the mechanothermal group. Both mechanical and mechanothermal groups achieved successful FUS neuromodulation. EMG response latencies were within the range of 0.03-0.1 s at different intensity levels for the mechanical group. The mechanothermal effect of FUS could induce both short-latency EMG (0.2-1.4 s) and long-latency EMG (8.7-13.0 s) under the same intensity levels as the mechanical group. The different temporal dynamics of evoked EMG suggested that FUS-induced mechanical and mechanothermal effects could evoke different responses in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135005
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 7 2021


  • electromyography
  • focused ultrasound
  • motor response
  • neuromodulation


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