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The therapeutic efficacy of neurological agents is severely limited, because large compounds do not cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Focused ultrasound (FUS) sonication in the presence of microbubbles has been shown to temporarily open the BBB, allowing systemically administered agents into the brain. Until now, polydispersed microbubbles (1-10 ??m in diameter) were used, and, therefore, the bubble sizes better suited for inducing the opening remain unknown. Here, the FUS-induced BBB opening dependence on microbubble size is investigated. Bubbles at 1-2 and 4-5 ??m in diameter were separately size-isolated using differential centrifugation before being systemically administered in mice (n = 28). The BBB opening pressure threshold was identified by varying the peak-rarefactional pressure amplitude. BBB opening was determined by fluorescence enhancement due to systemically administered, fluorescent-tagged, 3-kDa dextran. The identified threshold fell between 0.30 and 0.46 MPa in the case of 1-2 ??m bubbles and between 0.15 and 0.30 MPa in the 4-5 ??m case. At every pressure studied, the fluorescence was greater with the 4-5 ??m than with the 1-2 ??m bubbles. At 0.61 MPa, in the 1-2 ??m bubble case, the fluorescence amount and area were greater in the thalamus than in the hippocampus. In conclusion, it was determined that the FUS-induced BBB opening was dependent on both the size distribution in the injected microbubble volume and the brain region targeted.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2010