Disruption of the Blood-Spinal Cord Barrier using Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound in a Rat Model

Meghana Bhimreddy, Denis Routkevitch, Andrew M. Hersh, Ali Mohammadabadi, Arjun K. Menta, Kelly Jiang, Carly Weber-Levine, A. Daniel Davidar, Joshua Punnoose, Kelley M. Kempski Leadingham, Joshua C. Doloff, Betty Tyler, Nicholas Theodore, Amir Manbachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) uses ultrasonic pulsations at lower intensities than ultrasound and is being tested as a reversible and precise neuromodulatory technology. Although LIFU-mediated blood-brain barrier (BBB) opening has been explored in detail, no standardized technique for blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) opening has been established to date. Therefore, this protocol presents a method for successful BSCB disruption using LIFU sonication in a rat model, including descriptions of animal preparation, microbubble administration, target selection and localization, as well as BSCB disruption visualization and confirmation. The approach reported here is particularly useful for researchers who need a fast and cost-effective method to test and confirm target localization and precise BSCB disruption in a small animal model with a focused ultrasound transducer, evaluate the BSCB efficacy of sonication parameters, or explore applications for LIFU at the spinal cord, such as drug delivery, immunomodulation, and neuromodulation. Optimizing this protocol for individual use is recommended, especially for advancing future preclinical, clinical, and translational work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number193
StatePublished - Mar 10 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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