Acoustic coupling through hairs remains a challenge to performing transcranial-focused ultrasound procedures. Here, we demonstrated that this challenge could be addressed by using oil as the coupling medium, leveraging oil's high affinity to hairs due to their inherent hydrophobicity. We compared focused ultrasound-induced blood–brain barrier opening (FUS-BBBO) outcomes in mice under three coupling conditions: oil with hairs (“oil + hairs”), ultrasound gel with hair shaving (“ultrasound gel + no hair”), and ultrasound gel with hairs (“ultrasound gel + hairs”). The quality of the coupling was evaluated by T 2 -weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and passive cavitation detection (PCD). The outcome of FUS-BBBO was assessed by MRI contrast agent extravasation using in vivo T 1 -weighted contrast-enhanced MRI. It was also evaluated by ex vivo fluorescence imaging of the mouse brain after intravenous injection of a model drug, Evans blue. The results showed that “oil + hairs” consistently achieved high-quality acoustic coupling without trapping air bubbles. The FUS-BBBO outcome was not significantly different between the “oil + hairs” and the “ultrasound gel + no hair” groups. These two groups had significantly higher levels of BBB opening than the “ultrasound gel + hairs” group. This study demonstrated that oil could be a coupling medium for transcranial FUS procedures without shaving hairs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13500
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


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