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Noninvasive and localized neuronal delivery using short ultrasonic pulses and microbubbles
James J. Choi, Kirsten Selert, Fotios Vlachos, Anna Wong and Elisa E. Konofagou
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 108, No. 40 (October 4, 2011), pp. 16539-16544
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41321736
Page Count: 6
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Focused ultrasound activation of systemically administered microbubbles is a noninvasive and localized drug delivery method that can increase vascular permeability to large molecular agents. Yet the range of acoustic parameters responsible for drug delivery remains unknown, and, thus, enhancing the delivery characteristics without compromising safety has proven to be difficult. We propose a new basis for ultrasonic pulse design in drug delivery through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) that uses principles of probability of occurrence and spatial distribution of cavitation in contrast to the conventionally applied magnitude of cavitation. The efficacy of using extremely short (2.3 μs) pulses was evaluated in 27 distinct acoustic parameter sets at low peak-rarefactional pressures (0.51 MPa or lower). The left hippocampus and lateral thalamus were noninvasively sonicated after administration of Definity microbubbles. Disruption of the BBB was confirmed by delivery of fluorescently tagged 3-, 10-, or 70-kDa dextrans. Under some conditions, dextrans were distributed homogeneously throughout the targeted region and accumulated at specific hippocampal landmarks and neuronal cells and axons. No histological damage was observed at the most effective parameter set. Our results have broadened the design space of parameters toward a wider safety window that may also increase vascular permeability. The study also uncovered a set of parameters that enhances the dose and distribution of molecular delivery, overcoming standard trade-offs in avoiding associated damage. Given the short pulses used similar to diagnostic ultrasound, new critical parameters were also elucidated to clearly separate therapeutic ultrasound from disruption-free diagnostic ultrasound.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 2011 National Academy of Sciences