Therapeutic Potentials of Localized Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption by Noninvasive Transcranial Focused Ultrasound: A Technical Review

Amanda Cammalleri, Phillip Croce, Wonhye Lee, Kyungho Yoon, Seung Schik Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The demands for region-specific, noninvasive therapies for neurologic/psychiatric conditions are growing. The rise of transcranial focused ultrasound technology has witnessed temporary and reversible disruptions of the blood-brain barrier in the brain with exceptional control over the spatial precisions and depth, all in a noninvasive manner. Starting with small animal studies about a decade ago, the technique is now being explored in nonhuman primates and humans for the assessment of its efficacy and safety. The ability to transfer exogenous/endogenous therapeutic agents, cells, and biomolecules across the blood-brain barrier opens up new therapeutic avenues for various neurologic conditions, with a possibility to modulate the excitability of regional brain function. This review addresses the technical fundamentals, sonication parameters, experimental protocols, and monitoring techniques to examine the efficacy/safety in focused ultrasound-mediated blood-brain barrier disruption and discuss its potential translations to clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-117
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (RO1 MH111763) to A. Cammalleri, P. Croce, W. Lee, K. Yoon, and S-. S. Yoo. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Seung-Schik Yoo, PhD, MBA, Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115, U.S.A.; e-mail: Copyright © 2020 by the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society ISSN: 0736-0258/20/3702-0104 DOI 10.1097/WNP.0000000000000488

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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