Théo Lemaire, Elena Vicari, Esra Neufeld, Niels Kuster, and Silvestro Micera, iScience, September 2021, Volume 24, Issue 9, Article No. 103085, online 6 September 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2021.103085
Low-intensity focused ultrasound stimulation (LIFUS) holds promise for the remote modulation of neural activity, but an incomplete mechanistic characterization hinders its clinical maturation. Here, we developed a computational framework to model intramembrane (a candidate mechanism) in multi-compartment, morphologically structured neuron models, and used it to investigate ultrasound of peripheral nerves. We predict that, by engaging membrane mechanoelectrical coupling, LIFUS exploits fiber-specific differences in and capacitance to selectively recruit myelinated and/or unmyelinated axons in distinct parametric , allowing modulation of their activity concurrently and independently over physiologically relevant spiking frequency ranges. These theoretical results consistently explain recent empirical findings and suggest that LIFUS can simultaneously, yet selectively, engage different neural pathways, opening up opportunities for peripheral neuromodulation that are currently not addressable by electrical stimulation. More generally, our framework is readily applicable to other neural targets to establish application-specific LIFUS protocols.
The scientific and technical impact of the study can be summarized as: