Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.413, No.2, 218-223, 2011
Optical observation of cell sonoporation with low intensity ultrasound
Sonoporation is a promising drug delivery technique with great potential in medicine. However, its applications have been limited mostly by the lack of understanding its underlying biophysical mechanism, partly due to the inadequacy of the existing models for coupling with highly sensitive imaging techniques to directly observe the actual precursor events of cell-microbubble interaction under low intensity ultrasound. Here, we introduce a new in vitro method utilizing capillary-microgripping system and micro-transducer to achieve maximum level of experimental flexibility for capturing real time highly magnified images of cell-microbubble interaction, hitherto unseen in this context. Insonation of isolated single cells and microbubbles parallel with high speed microphotography and fluorescence microscopy allowed us to identify dynamic responses of cell-membrane/microbubble in correlation with sonoporation. Our results showed that bubble motion and linear oscillation in close contact with the cell membrane can cause local deformation and transient porosity in the cell membrane without rupturing it. This method can also be used as an in situ gene/drug delivery system of targeted cells for non-invasive clinical applications. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.