Publication: The Effects of Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Stimulation of Nucleus Accumbens on Neuronal Gene Expression and Brain Tissue in High Alcohol-Preferring Rats
We investigated the effect of low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) on gene expression related to alcohol dependence and histological effects on brain tissue. We also aimed at determining the miRNA-mRNA relationship and their pathways in alcohol dependence-induced expression changes after focused ultrasound therapy. We designed a case-control study for 100 days of observation to investigate differences in gene expression in the short-term stimulation group (STS) and long-term stimulation group (LTS) compared with the control sham group (SG). The study was performed in our Experimental Research Laboratory. 24 male high alcohol-preferring rats 63 to 79 days old, weighing 270 to 300 g, were included in the experiment. LTS received 50-day LIFU and STS received 10-day LIFU and 40-day sham stimulation, while the SG received 50-day sham stimulation. In miRNA expression analysis, it was found that LIFU caused gene expression differences in NAc. Significant differences were found between the groups for gene expression. Compared to the SG, the expression of 454 genes in the NAc region was changed in the STS while the expression of 382 genes was changed in the LTS. In the LTS, the expression of 32 genes was changed in total compared to STS. Our data suggest that LIFU targeted on NAc may assist in the treatment of alcohol dependence, especially in the long term possibly through altering gene expression. Our immunohistochemical studies verified that LIFU does not cause any tissue damage. These findings may lead to new studies in investigating the efficacy of LIFU for the treatment of alcohol dependence and also for other psychiatric disorders.