Ultrasound contrast agents as drug-delivery systems are an emerging field. Recently, we reported that targeted microbubbles are able to sonoporate endothelial cells in vitro. In this study, we investigated whether targeted microbubbles can also induce sonoporation of endothelial cells in vivo, thereby making it possible to combine molecular imaging and drug delivery. Live chicken embryos were chosen as the in vivo model. αvβ3-targeted microbubbles attached to the vessel wall of the chicken embryo were insonified at 1 MHz at 150 kPa (1 × 10 000 cycles) and at 200 kPa (1 × 1000 cycles) peak negative acoustic pressure. Sonoporation was studied by intravital microscopy using the model drug propidium iodide (PI). Endothelial cell PI uptake was observed in 48% of microbubble-vessel-wall complexes at 150 kPa (n = 140) and in 33% at 200 kPa (n = 140). Efficiency of PI uptake depended on the local targeted microbubble concentration and increased up to 80% for clusters of 10 to 16 targeted microbubbles. Ultrasound or targeted microbubbles alone did not induce PI uptake. This intravital microscopy study reveals that sonoporation can be visualized and induced in vivo using targeted microbubbles.

dx.doi.org/10.1109/TUFFC.2014.006440, hdl.handle.net/1765/87890
I E E E Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Skachkov, I, Luan, Y, van der Steen, A.F.W, de Jong, N, & Kooiman, K. (2014). Targeted microbubble mediated sonoporation of endothelial cells in vivo. I E E E Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 61(10), 1661–1667. doi:10.1109/TUFFC.2014.006440