Improving ultrasound gene transfection efficiency by controlling ultrasound excitation of microbubbles.
ABSTRACT: Ultrasound application in the presence of microbubbles has shown great potential for non-viral gene transfection via transient disruption of cell membrane (sonoporation). However, improvement of its efficiency has largely relied on empirical approaches without consistent and translatable results. The goal of this study is to develop a rational strategy based on new results obtained using novel experimental techniques and analysis to improve sonoporation gene transfection. In this study, we conducted experiments using targeted microbubbles that were attached to cell membrane to facilitate sonoporation. We quantified the dynamic activities of microbubbles exposed to pulsed ultrasound and the resulting sonoporation outcome, and identified distinct regimes of characteristic microbubble behaviors: stable cavitation, coalescence and translation, and inertial cavitation. We found that inertial cavitation generated the highest rate of membrane poration. By establishing direct correlation of ultrasound-induced bubble activities with intracellular uptake and pore size, we designed a ramped pulse exposure scheme for optimizing microbubble excitation to improve sonoporation gene transfection. We implemented a novel sonoporation gene transfection system using an aqueous two phase system (ATPS) for efficient use of reagents and high throughput operation. Using plasmids coding for the green fluorescence protein (GFP), we achieved a sonoporation transfection efficiency in rate aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMCs) of 6.9%±2.2% (n=9), comparable with lipofection (7.5%±0.8%, n=9). Our results reveal characteristic microbubble behaviors responsible for sonoporation and demonstrated a rational strategy to improve sonoporation gene transfection.
Project description:Ultrasound-driven microbubble activities have been exploited to transiently disrupt the cell membrane (sonoporation) for non-viral intracellular drug delivery and gene transfection both in vivo and in vitro. In this study, we investigated the dynamic behaviors of a population of microbubbles exposed to pulsed ultrasound and their impact on adherent cells in terms of intracellular delivery and cell viability. By systematically analyzing the bubble activities at time scales relevant to pulsed ultrasound exposure, we identified two quantification parameters that categorize the diverse bubble activities subjected to various ultrasound conditions into three characteristic behaviors: stable cavitation/aggregation (type I), growth/coalescence and translation (type II) and localized inertial cavitation/collapse (type III). Correlation of the bubble activities with sonoporation outcome suggested that type III behavior resulted in intracellular delivery, whereas type II behavior caused the death of a large number of cells. These results provide useful insights for rational selection of ultrasound parameters to optimize outcomes of sonoporation and other applications that exploit the use of ultrasound-driven bubble activities.
Project description:Sonoporation refers to the use of ultrasound and acoustic cavitation to temporarily enhance the permeability of cellular membranes so as to enhance the delivery efficiency of therapeutic agents into cells. Microbubble-based ultrasound contrast agents are often used to facilitate these cavitation effects. This study used nanodroplets to significantly enhance the effectiveness of sonoporation relative to using conventional microbubbles. Significant enhancements were demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo by using gold nanorods encapsulated in nanodroplets for implementing plasmonic photothermal therapy. Combined excitation by ultrasound and laser radiation is used to trigger the gold nanodroplets to induce a liquid-to-gas phase change, which induces cavitation effects that are three-to-fivefold stronger than when using conventional microbubbles. Enhanced cavitation also leads to significant enhancement of the sonoporation effects. Our in vivo results show that nanodroplet-vaporization-assisted sonoporation can increase the treatment temperature by more than 10 °C above that achieved by microbubble-based sonoporation.
Project description:The concurrent assessment of principal sonoporation factors has been accomplished in a single systemic study. Microbubble sonodestruction dynamics and cavitation spectral characteristics, ultrasound scattering and attenuation, were examined in relation to the intracellular delivery of anticancer drug, bleomycin. Experiments were conducted on Chinese hamster ovary cells coadministered with Sonovue microbubbles. Detailed analysis of the scattering and attenuation temporal functions culminated in quantification of metrics, inertial cavitation dose and attenuation rate, suitable for cavitation control. The exponents, representing microbubble sonodestruction kinetics were exploited to derive dosimetric, microbubble sonodestruction rate. High intracorrelation between empirically-attained metrics defines the relations which indicate deep physical interdependencies within inherent phenomena. Subsequently each quantified metric was validated to be well-applicable to prognosticate the efficacy of bleomycin delivery and cell viability, as indicated by strong overall correlation (R2?>?0.85). Presented results draw valuable insights in sonoporation dosimetry and contribute towards the development of universal sonoporation dosimetry model. Both bleomycin delivery and cell viability reach their respective plateau levels by the time, required to attain total microbubble sonodestruction, which accord with scattering and attenuation decrease to background levels. This suggests a well-defined criterion, feasible through signal-registration, universally employable to set optimal duration of exposure for efficient sonoporation outcome.
Project description:RNA interference has potential therapeutic value for cardiac disease, but targeted delivery of interfering RNA is a challenge. Custom designed microbubbles, in conjunction with ultrasound, can deliver small inhibitory RNA to target tissues in vivo. The efficacy of cardiac RNA interference using a microbubble-ultrasound theranostic platform has not been demonstrated in vivo. Therefore, our objective was to test the hypothesis that custom designed microbubbles and ultrasound can mediate effective delivery of small inhibitory RNA to the heart. Microbubble and ultrasound mediated cardiac RNA interference was tested in transgenic mice displaying cardiac-restricted luciferase expression. Luciferase expression was assayed in select tissues of untreated mice (n = 14). Mice received intravenous infusion of cationic microbubbles bearing small inhibitory RNA directed against luciferase (n = 9) or control RNA (n = 8) during intermittent cardiac-directed ultrasound at mechanical index of 1.6. Simultaneous echocardiography in a separate group of mice (n = 3) confirmed microbubble destruction and replenishment during treatment. Three days post treatment, cardiac luciferase messenger RNA and protein levels were significantly lower in ultrasound-treated mice receiving microbubbles loaded with small inhibitory RNA directed against luciferase compared to mice receiving microbubbles bearing control RNA (23±7% and 33±7% of control mice, p<0.01 and p = 0.03, respectively). Passive cavitation detection focused on the heart confirmed that insonification resulted in inertial cavitation. In conclusion, small inhibitory RNA-loaded microbubbles and ultrasound directed at the heart significantly reduced the expression of a reporter gene. Ultrasound-targeted destruction of RNA-loaded microbubbles may be an effective image-guided strategy for therapeutic RNA interference in cardiac disease.
Project description:Ultrasound-mediated gene delivery can be amplified by acoustic disruption of microbubble carriers that undergo cavitation. We hypothesized that endothelial targeting of microbubbles bearing cDNA is feasible and, through optimizing proximity to the vessel wall, increases the efficacy of gene transfection.Contrast ultrasound-mediated gene delivery is a promising approach for site-specific gene therapy, although there are concerns with the reproducibility of this technique and the safety when using high-power ultrasound.Cationic lipid-shelled decafluorobutane microbubbles bearing a targeting moiety were prepared and compared with nontargeted microbubbles. Microbubble targeting efficiency to endothelial adhesion molecules (P-selectin or intercellular adhesion molecule [ICAM]-1) was tested using in vitro flow chamber studies, intravital microscopy of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-?)-stimulated murine cremaster muscle, and targeted contrast ultrasound imaging of P-selectin in a model of murine limb ischemia. Ultrasound-mediated transfection of luciferase reporter plasmid charge coupled to microbubbles in the post-ischemic hindlimb muscle was assessed by in vivo optical imaging.Charge coupling of cDNA to the microbubble surface was not influenced by the presence of targeting ligand, and did not alter the cavitation properties of cationic microbubbles. In flow chamber studies, surface conjugation of cDNA did not affect attachment of targeted microbubbles at microvascular shear stresses (0.6 and 1.5 dyne/cm(2)). Attachment in vivo was also not affected by cDNA according to intravital microscopy observations of venular adhesion of ICAM-1-targeted microbubbles and by ultrasound molecular imaging of P-selectin-targeted microbubbles in the post-ischemic hindlimb in mice. Transfection at the site of high acoustic pressures (1.0 and 1.8 MPa) was similar for control and P-selectin-targeted microbubbles but was associated with vascular rupture and hemorrhage. At 0.6 MPa, there were no adverse bioeffects, and transfection was 5-fold greater with P-selectin-targeted microbubbles.We conclude that ultrasound-mediated transfection at safe acoustic pressures can be markedly augmented by endothelial juxtaposition.
Project description:Focused ultrasound in conjunction with lipid microbubbles has fully demonstrated its ability to induce non-invasive, transient, and reversible blood-brain barrier opening. This study was aimed at testing the feasibility of our lipid-coated microbubbles as a vector for targeted drug delivery in the treatment of central nervous system diseases. These microbubbles were labeled with the fluorophore 5-dodecanoylaminfluorescein. Focused ultrasound targeted mouse brains in vivo in the presence of these microbubbles for trans-blood-brain barrier delivery of 5-dodecanoylaminfluorescein. This new approach, compared to previously studies of our group, where fluorescently labeled dextrans and microbubbles were co-administered, represents an appreciable improvement in safety outcome and targeted drug delivery. This novel technique allows the delivery of 5-dodecanoylaminfluorescein at the region of interest unlike the alternative of systemic exposure. 5-dodecanoylaminfluorescein delivery was assessed by ex vivo fluorescence imaging and by in vivo transcranial passive cavitation detection. Stable and inertial cavitation doses were quantified. The cavitation dose thresholds for estimating, a priori, successful targeted drug delivery were, for the first time, identified with inertial cavitation were concluded to be necessary for successful delivery. The findings presented herein indicate the feasibility and safety of the proposed microbubble-based targeted drug delivery and that, if successful, can be predicted by cavitation detection in vivo.
Project description:Sonoporation is a targeted drug delivery technique that employs cavitation microbubbles to generate transient pores in the cell membrane, allowing foreign substances to enter cells by passing through the pores. Due to the broad size distribution of microbubbles, cavitation events appear to be a random process, making it difficult to achieve controllable and efficient sonoporation. In this work a technique is reported using a microfluidic device that enables in parallel modulation of membrane permeability by an oscillating microbubble array. Multirectangular channels of uniform size are created at the sidewall to generate an array of monodispersed microbubbles, which oscillate with almost the same amplitude and resonant frequency, ensuring homogeneous sonoporation with high efficacy. Stable harmonic and high harmonic signals emitted by individual oscillating microbubbles are detected by a laser Doppler vibrometer, which indicates stable cavitation occurred. Under the influence of the acoustic radiation forces induced by the oscillating microbubble, single cells can be trapped at an oscillating microbubble surface. The sonoporation of single cells is directly influenced by the individual oscillating microbubble. The parallel sonoporation of multiple cells is achieved with an efficiency of 96.6 ± 1.74% at an acoustic pressure as low as 41.7 kPa.
Project description:The conjunction of low intensity ultrasound and encapsulated microbubbles can alter the permeability of cell membrane, offering a promising theranostic technique for non-invasive gene/drug delivery. Despite its great potential, the biophysical mechanisms of the delivery at the cellular level remains poorly understood. Here, the first direct high-speed micro-photographic images of human lymphoma cell and microbubble interaction dynamics are provided in a completely free suspension environment without any boundary parameter defect. Our real-time images and theoretical analyses prove that the negative divergence side of the microbubble's dipole microstreaming locally pulls the cell membrane, causing transient local protrusion of 2.5 µm in the cell membrane. The linear oscillation of microbubble caused microstreaming well below the inertial cavitation threshold, and imposed 35.3 Pa shear stress on the membrane, promoting an area strain of 0.12%, less than the membrane critical areal strain to cause cell rupture. Positive transfected cells with pEGFP-N1 confirm that the interaction causes membrane poration without cell disruption. The results show that the overstretched cell membrane causes reparable submicron pore formation, providing primary evidence of low amplitude (0.12 MPa at 0.834 MHz) ultrasound sonoporation mechanism.
Project description:We demonstrate the megavoltage (MV) radiosensitization of a human liver cancer line by combining gold-nanoparticle-encapsulated microbubbles (AuMBs) with ultrasound. Microbubbles-mediated sonoporation was administered for 5 min, at 2 h prior to applying radiotherapy. The intracellular concentration of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) increased with the inertial cavitation of AuMBs in a dose-dependent manner. A higher inertial cavitation dose was also associated with more DNA damage, higher levels of apoptosis markers, and inferior cell surviving fractions after MV X-ray irradiation. The dose-modifying ratio in a clonogenic assay was 1.56 ± 0.45 for a 10% surviving fraction. In a xenograft mouse model, combining vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2)-targeted AuMBs with sonoporation significantly delayed tumor regrowth. A strategy involving the spatially and temporally controlled release of AuNPs followed by clinically utilized MV irradiation shows promising results that make it worthy of further translational investigations.
Project description:Sonoporation is the membrane disruption generated by ultrasound and has been exploited as a non-viral strategy for drug and gene delivery. Acoustic cavitation of microbubbles has been recognized to play an important role in sonoporation. However, due to the lack of adequate techniques for precise control of cavitation activities and real-time assessment of the resulting sub-micron process of sonoporation, limited knowledge has been available regarding the detail processes and correlation of cavitation with membrane disruption at the single cell level. In the current study, we developed a combined approach including optical, acoustical, and electrophysiological techniques to enable synchronized manipulation, imaging, and measurement of cavitation of single bubbles and the resulting cell membrane disruption in real-time. Using a self-focused femtosecond laser and high frequency ultrasound (7.44MHz) pulses, a single microbubble was generated and positioned at a desired distance from the membrane of a Xenopus oocyte. Cavitation of the bubble was achieved by applying a low frequency (1.5MHz) ultrasound pulse (duration 13.3 or 40?s) to induce bubble collapse. Disruption of the cell membrane was assessed by the increase in the transmembrane current (TMC) of the cell under voltage clamp. Simultaneous high-speed bright field imaging of cavitation and measurements of the TMC were obtained to correlate the ultrasound-generated bubble activities with the cell membrane poration. The change in membrane permeability was directly associated with the formation of a sub-micrometer pore from a local membrane rupture generated by bubble collapse or bubble compression depending on ultrasound amplitude and duration. The impact of the bubble collapse on membrane permeation decreased rapidly with increasing distance (D) between the bubble (diameter d) and the cell membrane. The effective range of cavitation impact on membrane poration was determined to be D/d=0.75. The maximum mean radius of the pores was estimated from the measured TMC to be 0.106±0.032?m (n=70) for acoustic pressure of 1.5MPa (duration 13.3?s), and increased to 0.171±0.030?m (n=125) for acoustic pressure of 1.7MPa and to 0.182±0.052?m (n=112) for a pulse duration of 40?s (1.5MPa). These results from controlled cell membrane permeation by cavitation of single bubbles revealed insights and key factors affecting sonoporation at the single cell level.