Mechanistic Features of Ultrasound-Mediated Bioeffects
Schlicher, Robyn Kathryn
MetadataShow full item record
The inability to transport molecules efficiently and easily into cells and across tissues is one of the major limitations of developing drug delivery systems. A novel approach to overcoming this problem could be the use of low-frequency ultrasound to make cell membranes and tissues more permeable. Previous studies show that normally impermeant molecules can be transported into cells exposed to ultrasound; however, the mechanism by which this occurs is not well understood. Our hypothesis is that low frequency ultrasound can reversibly disrupt membrane structure, thus allowing diffusion-driven intracellular delivery of molecules through a breach in the cell membrane. The effects of ultrasound are not limited to uptake of molecules; there can also be significant loss of cell viability after sonication. Therefore, the focus of this work is to determine the mechanisms by which molecular uptake and cell death occur from ultrasound exposure. The long-term goal of this work is to increase the number of viable cells that experience uptake by controlling the effects that cause cell death. Our data have show that large molecules (r ≤ 28 nm) can be taken into cells after exposure to 24 kHz (10% duty cycle for 2 s of exposure time at 0.1 pulse length over a range of pressures) ultrasound and that uptake of these molecules can occur even after sonication ended. In experiments developed to isolate the mechanism(s) of uptake, DU145 prostate cancer cells depleted of ATP energy and intracellular calcium showed no uptake of calcein, a small fluorescent molecule (MW = 623 Da), nor did sonicated lipid bilayers (red blood cell ghosts), suggesting that uptake is calcium mediated and requires active mechanisms in viable cells. Multiple types of microscopy, including electron and laser scanning confocal, showed evidence of large plasma membrane disruptions which support the hypothesis that transport of molecules into cells occurs through repairing wounds. Microscopy studies also indicated that much if the sonication-mediated death can occur by instantaneous cellular lysing and rapid cell death (within minutes post-exposure) due to wound-instigated necrosis; in addition, characteristics of rapidly induced controlled death modes were seen and found to be non-caspase-mediated within an hour after sonication ended.