Background: Microelectrode arrays (MEA) enable the measurement and stimulation of the electrical activity of cultured cells. The integration of other neuromodulation methods will greatly enhance the application range of MEAs to study their effects on neurons. A neuromodulation method that is recently gaining more attention is focused ultrasound neuromodulation (FUS), which has the potential to treat neurological disorders reversibly and precisely.
Methods: In this work, we present the integration of a focused ultrasound delivery system with a multi-well MEA plate.
Results: The ultrasound delivery system was characterised by ultrasound pressure measurements, and the integration with the MEA plate was modelled with finite-element simulations of acoustic field parameters. The results of the simulations were validated with experimental visualisation of the ultrasound field with Schlieren imaging. In addition, the system was tested on a murine primary hippocampal neuron culture, showing that ultrasound can influence the activity of the neurons.
Conclusions: Our system was demonstrated to be suitable for studying the effect of focused ultrasound on neuronal cultures. The system allows reproducible experiments across the wells due to its robustness and simplicity of operation.