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Abigail McClintic

Affiliate - Research Scientist I






B.S. Environmental Health, University of Washington, 2012


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Mice exposed to diagnostic ultrasound in utero are less social and more active in social situations relative to controls

McClintic, A.M., B.H. King, S.J. Webb, and P.D. Mourad, "Mice exposed to diagnostic ultrasound in utero are less social and more active in social situations relative to controls," Autism Res., 7, 295-304, doi:10.1002/aur.1349, 2014.

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1 Jun 2014

Clinical use of diagnostic ultrasound imaging during pregnancy has a long history of safety and diagnostic utility, as supported by numerous human case reports and epidemiological studies. However, there exist in vivo studies linking large but clinically relevant doses of ultrasound applied to mouse fetuses in utero to altered learning, memory, and neuroanatomy of those mice. Also, there exists a well-documented significant increase in the likelihood of non-right-handedness in boys exposed to diagnostic ultrasound in utero, potentially relevant given the increased prevalence of autism in males, and reports of excess non-right-handedness in this population. Motivated by these observations, we applied 30 minutes of diagnostic ultrasound to pregnant mice at embryonic day 14.5 and assayed the social behavior of their male pups 3 weeks after their birth. The ultrasound-exposed pups were significantly (P < 0.01) less interested in social interaction than sham-exposed pups in a three-chamber sociability test. In addition, they demonstrated significantly (P < 0.05) more activity relative to the sham-exposed pups, but only in the presence of an unfamiliar mouse. These results suggest that fetal exposure to diagnostic ultrasound applied in utero can alter typical social behaviors in young mice that may be relevant for autism. There exist meaningful differences between the exposure of diagnostic ultrasound to mice versus humans that require further exploration before this work can usefully inform clinical practice. Future work should address these differences as well as clarify the extent, mechanisms, and functional effects of diagnostic ultrasound's interaction with the developing brain.

Rapid ultrasonic stimulation of inflamed tissue with diagnostic intent

McClintic, A.M., T.C. Dickey, M. Gofeld, P.R. Illian, M. Kliot, J.C. Kucewicz, J.D. Loeser, P.G. Richebe, and P.D. Mourad, "Rapid ultrasonic stimulation of inflamed tissue with diagnostic intent," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 134, 1521-1529, doi:10.1121/1.4812872, 2013.

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1 Aug 2013

Previous studies have observed that individual pulses of intense focused ultrasound (iFU) applied to inflamed and normal tissue can generate sensations, where inflamed tissue responds at a lower intensity than normal tissue. It was hypothesized that successively applied iFU pulses will generate sensation in inflamed tissue at a lower intensity and dose than application of a single iFU pulse. This hypothesis was tested using an animal model of chronic inflammatory pain, created by injecting an irritant into the rat hind paw. Ultrasound pulses were applied in rapid succession or individually to rats' rear paws beginning at low peak intensities and progressing to higher peak intensities, until the rats withdrew their paws immediately after iFU application. Focused ultrasound protocols consisting of successively and rapidly applied pulses elicited inflamed paw withdrawal at lower intensity and estimated tissue displacement values than single pulse protocols. However, both successively applied pulses and single pulses produced comparable threshold acoustic dose values and estimates of temperature increases. This raises the possibility that temperature increase contributed to paw withdrawal after rapid iFU stimulation. While iFU-induction of temporal summation may also play a role, electrophysiological studies are necessary to tease out these potential contributors to iFU stimulation.

Intense focused ultrasound preferentially stimulates subcutaneous and focal neuropathic tissue: Preliminary results

McClintic, A.M., T.C. Dickey, M. Gofeld, M. Kliot, J.D. Loeser, P. Richebe, and P.D. Mourad, "Intense focused ultrasound preferentially stimulates subcutaneous and focal neuropathic tissue: Preliminary results," Pain Med., 14, 84-92, doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2012.01510.x, 2013.

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1 Jan 2013

Potential peripheral sources of pain from subcutaneous tissue can require invasive evocative tests for their localization and assessment. Here, we describe studies whose ultimate goal is development of a noninvasive evocative test for subcutaneous, painful tissue.

We used a rat model of a focal and subcutaneous neuroma to test the hypothesis that intense focused ultrasound can differentiate focal and subcutaneous neuropathic tissue from control tissue. To do so, we first applied intense focused ultrasound (2 MHz, with individual pulses of 0.1 second in duration) to the rat's neuroma while the rat was under light anesthesia. We started with low values of intensity, which we increased until intense focused ultrasound stimulation caused the rat to reliably flick its paw. We then applied that same intense focused ultrasound protocol to control tissue away from the neuroma and assayed for the rat's response to that stimulation.

Intense focused ultrasound of sufficient strength (ISATA of 600 ± 160 W/cm2) applied to the neuroma caused the rat to flick its paw, while the same intense focused ultrasound applied millimeters to a centimeter away failed to induce a paw flick.

Successful stimulation of the neuroma by intense focused ultrasound required colocalization of the neuroma and intense focused ultrasound supporting our hypothesis.

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center