[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene therapy holds promise for the treatment of many pathologies of the central nervous system (CNS), including brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the delivery of systemically administered gene carriers to the CNS is hindered by both the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the nanoporous and electrostatically charged brain extracelluar matrix (ECM), which acts as a steric and adhesive barrier. We have previously shown that these physiological barriers may be overcome by, respectively, opening the BBB with MR image-guided focused ultrasound (FUS) and microbubbles and using highly compact "brain penetrating" nanoparticles (BPN) coated with a dense polyethylene glycol corona that prevents adhesion to ECM components. Here, we tested whether this combined approach could be utilized to deliver systemically administered DNA-bearing BPN (DNA-BPN) across the BBB and mediate localized, robust, and sustained transgene expression in the rat brain. Systemically administered DNA-BPN delivered through the BBB with FUS led to dose-dependent transgene expression only in the FUS-treated region that was evident as early as 24h post administration and lasted for at least 28days. In the FUS-treated region ~42% of all cells, including neurons and astrocytes, were transfected, while less than 6% were transfected in the contralateral non-FUS treated hemisphere. Importantly, this was achieved without any sign of toxicity or astrocyte activation. We conclude that the image-guided delivery of DNA-BPN with FUS and microbubbles constitutes a safe and non-invasive strategy for targeted gene therapy to the brain.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Controlled Release
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Magnetic resonance (MR) and photocoustic (PA) imaging are being currently investigated as complementing strategies for applications requiring sensitive detection of cells in vivo. While combined MR/PAI detection of cells requires biocompatible cell labeling probes, water-based synthesis of dual-modality MR/PAI probes presents significant technical challenges. Here we describe facile synthesis and characterization of hybrid modular dextran-stabilized gold/iron oxide (Au-IO) multimetallic nanoparticles (NP) enabling multimodal imaging of cells. The stable association between the IO and gold NP was achieved by priming the surface of dextran-coated IO with silver NP resulting from silver (I) reduction by aldehyde groups, which are naturally present within the dextran coating of IO at the level of 19-23 groups/particle. The Au-IO NP formed in the presence of silver-primed Au-IO were stabilized by using partially thiolated MPEG5-gPLL graft copolymer carrying residual amino groups. This stabilizer served as a carrier of near-infrared fluorophores (e.g. IRDye 800RS) for multispectral PA imaging. Dual modality imaging experiments performed in capillary phantoms of purified Au-IO-800RS NPs showed that these NPs were detectible using 3T MRI at a concentration of 25 µM iron. PA imaging achieved approximately 2.5-times higher detection sensitivity due to strong PA signal emissions at 530 and 770 nm, corresponding to gold plasmons and IRDye integrated into the coating of the hybrid NPs, respectively, with no "bleaching" of PA signal. MDA-MB-231 cells pre-labeled with Au-IO-800RS retained plasma membrane integrity and were detectable by using both MR and dual-wavelength PA at approximately 4100±250 cells/imaging volume. We believe that modular assembly of multi-metallic NPs shows promise for imaging analysis of engineered cells and tissues with high resolution and sensitivity.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Bioconjugate Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
During inflammation leukocyte attachment to the blood vessel wall is augmented by capture of near-wall flowing leukocytes by previously adherent leukocytes. Adhesive interactions between flowing and adherent leukocytes are mediated by L-selectin and P-selectin Glycoprotein Ligand-1 (PSGL-1) co-expressed on the leukocyte surface and ultimately regulated by hydrodynamic shear thresholding.
We hypothesized that leukocyte deformability is a significant contributory factor in shear thresholding and secondary capture.
Cytochalasin D (CD) was used to increase neutrophil deformability and fixation was used to reduce deformability. Neutrophil rolling on PSGL-1 coated planar surfaces and collisions with PSGL-1 coated microbeads were analyzed using high-speed videomicroscopy (250 fps).
Increased deformability led to an increase in neutrophil rolling flux on PSGL-1 surfaces while fixation led to a decrease in rolling flux. Abrupt drops in flow below the shear threshold resulted in extended release times from the substrate for CD-treated neutrophils, suggesting increased bond number. In a cell-microbead collision assay lower flow rates were correlated with briefer adhesion lifetimes and smaller adhesive contact patches.
Leukocyte deformation may control selectin bond number at the flow rates associated with hydrodynamic shear thresholding. Model analysis supported a requirement for both L-selectin catch-slip bond properties and multiple bond formation for shear thresholding.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report on an implementation of all-optical photoacoustic microscopy (PAM), which capitalizes on the effect of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) for optical detection of ultrasound. The SPR sensor in our all-optical PAM shows, experimentally, a linear response to the acoustic pressure from 5.2 kPa to 2.1 MPa, an ultra-flat frequency response (±0.7 dB) from 680 kHz to 126 MHz, and a noise-equivalent pressure sensitivity of 3.3 kPa. With the broadband ultrasonic
detection, our SPR-PAM has achieved high spatial resolution with relatively low anisotropy (i.e., 2.0 μm laterally and 8.4 μm axially). Three-dimensional high-resolution imaging of a single melanoma cell is demonstrated.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Applied Physics Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) provides radiation-free, real-time imaging and assessment of atherosclerotic disease in terms of anatomical, functional, and molecular composition. The primary clinical applications of IVUS imaging include assessment of luminal plaque volume and real-time image guidance for stent placement. When paired with microbubble contrast agents, IVUS technology may be extended to provide nonlinear imaging, molecular imaging, and therapeutic delivery modes. In this review, we discuss the development of emerging imaging and therapeutic applications that are enabled by the combination of IVUS imaging technology and microbubble contrast agents.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the past decade, ultrasound has expanded medical imaging well beyond the "traditional" radiology setting: a combination of portability, low cost, and ease of use makes ultrasound imaging an indispensable tool for radiologists as well as for other medical professionals who need to obtain imaging diagnosis or guide a therapeutic intervention quickly and efficiently. Ultrasound combines excellent ability for deep penetration into soft tissues with very good spatial resolution, with only a few exceptions (ie, those involving overlying bone or gas). Real-time imaging (up to hundreds and thousands of frames per second) enables guidance of therapeutic procedures and biopsies; characterization of the mechanical properties of the tissues greatly aids with the accuracy of the procedures. The ability of ultrasound to deposit energy locally brings about the potential for localized intervention encompassing the following: tissue ablation, enhancing penetration through the natural barriers to drug delivery in the body and triggering drug release from carrier microparticles and nanoparticles. The use of microbubble contrast agents brings the ability to monitor and quantify tissue perfusion, and microbubble targeting with ligand-decorated microbubbles brings the ability to obtain molecular biomarker information, that is, ultrasound molecular imaging. Overall, ultrasound has become the most widely used imaging modality in modern medicine; it will continue to grow and expand.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Investigative radiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to optically verify the dynamic behaviors of adherent microbubbles in large blood vessel environments in response to a new ultrasound technique using modulated acoustic radiation force.
Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) flow channels coated with streptavidin were used in targeted groups to mimic large blood vessels. The custom-modulated acoustic radiation force beam sequence was programmed on a Verasonics research scanner. In vitro experiments were performed by injecting a biotinylated lipid-perfluorobutane microbubble dispersion through flow channels. The dynamic response of adherent microbubbles was detected acoustically and simultaneously visualized using a video camera connected to a microscope. In vivo verification was performed in a large abdominal blood vessel of a murine model for inflammation with injection of biotinylated microbubbles conjugated with P-selectin antibody.
Aggregates of adherent microbubbles were observed optically under the influence of acoustic radiation force. Large microbubble aggregates were observed solely in control groups without targeted adhesion. Additionally, the dispersion of microbubble aggregates were demonstrated to lead to a transient acoustic signal enhancement in control groups (a new phenomenon we refer to as "control peak"). In agreement with in vitro results, the control peak phenomenon was observed in vivo in a murine model.
This study provides the first optical observation of microbubble-binding dynamics in large blood vessel environments with application of a modulated acoustic radiation force beam sequence. With targeted adhesion, secondary radiation forces were unable to produce large aggregates of adherent microbubbles. Additionally, the new phenomenon called control peak was observed both in vitro and in vivo in a murine model for the first time. The findings in this study provide us with a better understanding of microbubble behaviors in large blood vessel environments with application of acoustic radiation force and could potentially guide future beam sequence designs or signal processing routines for enhanced ultrasound molecular imaging.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Investigative radiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in MECP2, encoding the epigenetic regulator methyl-CpG-binding protein 2, are the predominant cause of Rett syndrome, a disease characterized by both neurological symptoms and systemic abnormalities. Microglial dysfunction is thought to contribute to disease pathogenesis, and here we found microglia become activated and subsequently lost with disease progression in Mecp2-null mice. Mecp2 was found to be expressed in peripheral macrophage and monocyte populations, several of which also became depleted in Mecp2-null mice. RNA-seq revealed increased expression of glucocorticoid- and hypoxia-induced transcripts in Mecp2-deficient microglia and peritoneal macrophages. Furthermore, Mecp2 was found to regulate inflammatory gene transcription in response to TNF stimulation. Postnatal re-expression of Mecp2 using Cx3cr1creER increased the lifespan of otherwise Mecp2-null mice. These data suggest that Mecp2 regulates microglia and macrophage responsiveness to environmental stimuli to promote homeostasis. Dysfunction of tissue-resident macrophages might contribute to the systemic pathologies observed in Rett syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Potent therapeutic compounds with dose dependent side effects require more efficient and selective drug delivery to reduce systemic drug doses. Here, we demonstrate a new platform that combines intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and drug-loaded microbubbles to enhance and localize drug delivery, while enabling versatility of drug type and dosing. Localization and degree of delivery with IVUS and microbubbles was assessed using fluorophore-loaded microbubbles and different IVUS parameters in ex vivo swine arteries. Using a swine model of neointimal hyperplasia, reduction of neointima formation following balloon injury was evaluated when using the combination of IVUS and sirolimus-loaded microbubbles. IVUS and microbubble enhanced fluorophore delivery was greatest when applying low amplitude pulses in the ex vivo model. In the in vivo model, neointima formation was reduced by 50% after treatment with IVUS and the sirolimus-loaded microbubbles. This reduction was achieved with a sirolimus whole blood concentration comparable to a commercial drug-eluting stent (0.999 ng/mL). We anticipate this therapy will find clinical use localizing drug delivery for numerous other diseases in addition to serving as an adjunct to stents in treating atherosclerosis.
No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Annals of Biomedical Engineering
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite recent advances, treatment options for advanced prostate cancer (CaP) remain limited. We are pioneering approaches to treat advanced CaP that employ conditionally replication-competent oncolytic adenoviruses that simultaneously produce a systemically active cancer-specific therapeutic cytokine, mda-7/IL-24, Cancer Terminator Viruses (CTV). A truncated version of the CCN1/CYR61 gene promoter, tCCN1-Prom, was more active than progression elevated gene-3 promoter (PEG-Prom) in regulating transformation-selective transgene expression in CaP and oncogene-transformed rat embryo cells. Accordingly, we developed a new CTV, Ad.tCCN1-CTV-m7, which displayed dose-dependent killing of CaP without harming normal prostate epithelial cells in vitro with significant anti-cancer activity in vivo in both nude mouse CaP xenograft and transgenic Hi-Myc mice (using ultrasound-targeted microbubble (MB)-destruction, UTMD, with decorated MBs). Resistance to mda-7/IL-24-induced cell deathcorrelated with overexpression of Bcl-2 family proteins. Inhibiting Mcl-1 using an enhanced BH3 mimetic, BI-97D6, sensitized CaP cell lines to mda-7/IL-24-induced apoptosis. Combining BI-97D6 with Ads expressing mda-7/IL-24promoted ER stress, decreased anti-apoptotic Mcl-1 expression and enhanced mda-7/IL-24expression through mRNA stabilization selectively in CaP cells. In Hi-myc mice, the combination induced enhanced apoptosis and tumor growth suppression. These studies highlight therapeutic efficacy of combining a BH3 mimetic with a novel CTV, supporting potential clinical applications for treating advanced CaP.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microfluidics-based production of stable microbubbles for ultrasound contrast enhancement or drug/gene delivery allows for precise control over microbubble diameter but at the cost of a low production rate. In situ microfluidic production of microbubbles directly in the vasculature may eliminate the necessity for high microbubble production rates, long stability, or small diameters. Towards this goal, we investigated whether microfluidic-produced microbubbles directly administered into a mouse tail vein could provide sufficient ultrasound contrast. Microbubbles composed of nitrogen gas and stabilized with 3 % bovine serum albumin and 10 % dextrose were injected for 10 seconds into wild type C57BL/6 mice, via a tail-vein catheter. Short-axis images of the right and left ventricle were acquired at 12.5 MHz and image intensity over time was analyzed. Microbubbles were produced on the order of 10(5) microbubbles/s and were observed in both the right and left ventricles. The median rise time, duration, and decay time within the right ventricle were 2.9, 21.3, and 14.3 s, respectively. All mice survived the procedure with no observable respiratory or heart rate distress despite microbubble diameters as large as 19 μm.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Biomedical Microdevices
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to develop a medical alternative to surgical ovarian diathermy (OD) in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) more mechanistic information is required about OD. We therefore studied the cellular, molecular and vascular effects of diathermy on the ovary using an established ovine model of PCOS. Pregnant sheep were treated twice weekly with testosterone propionate (100 mg) from day 30–100 gestation. Their female offspring (n = 12) were studied during their second breeding season when the PCOS-like phenotype, with anovulation, is fully manifest. In one group (n = 4) one ovary underwent diathermy and it was collected and compared to the contralateral ovary after 24 hours. In another group a treatment PCOS cohort underwent diathermy (n = 4) and the ovaries were collected and compared to the control PCOS cohort (n = 4) after 5 weeks. Ovarian vascular indices were measured using contrast-enhanced ultrasound and colour Doppler before, immediately after, 24 hours and five weeks after diathermy. Antral follicles were assessed by immunohistochemistry and ovarian stromal gene expression by quantitative RT-PCR 24 hours and 5 weeks after diathermy. Diathermy increased follicular atresia (P<0.05) and reduced antral follicle numbers after 5 weeks (P<0.05). There was an increase in stromal CCL2 expression 24 hours after diathermy (P<0.01) but no alteration in inflammatory indices at 5 weeks. Immediately after diathermy there was increased microbubble transit time in the ovarian microvasculature (P = 0.05) but this was not seen at 24 hours. However 24 hours after diathermy there was a reduction in the stromal Doppler blood flow signal (P<0.05) and an increased ovarian resistance index (P<0.05) both of which persisted at 5 weeks (P<0.01; P<0.05). In the ovine model of PCOS, OD causes a sustained reduction in ovarian stromal blood flow with an increased ovarian artery resistance index associated with atresia of antral follicles.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) catheter, optimized for microbubble-enhanced drug delivery, was used to reduce neointima formation in a swine model of balloon injury. In order to minimize neointima formation following balloon injury, rapamycin-loaded microbubbles were infused into the region of injury. During microbubble infusion, arteries were treated with, or without, IVUS catheter insonation. Twenty eight days after treatment, injured arteries were excised, sectioned, and imaged. A reduction in neointima formation of 65% was measured in arteries treated with IVUS and rapamycin-loaded microbubbles as compared to arteries treated with rapamycin-loaded microbubbles alone (no ultrasound). These results indicate that IVUS, paired with drug-loaded microbubbles, may be a viable approach for achieving localized delivery of intravascular antiproliferative therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ultrasound molecular imaging has demonstrated efficacy in pre-clinical studies for cancer and cardiovascular inflammation. However, these techniques often require lengthy protocols because of waiting periods or additional control microbubble injections. Moreover, they are not capable of quantifying molecular marker concentration in human tissue environments that exhibit variable attenuation and propagation path lengths. Our group recently investigated a modulated acoustic radiation force-based imaging sequence, which was found to detect targeted adhesion independent of control measurements. In the present study, this sequence was tested against various experimental parameters to determine its feasibility for quantitative measurements of molecular marker concentration. Results indicated that measurements obtained from the sequence (residual-to-saturation ratio, Rresid) were independent of acoustic pressure and attenuation (p > 0.13, n = 10) when acoustic pressures were sufficiently low. The Rresid parameter exhibited a linear relationship with measured molecular marker concentration (R2 > 0.94). Consequently, feasibility was illustrated in vitro, for quantification of molecular marker concentration in large vessels using a modulated acoustic radiation force-based sequence. Moreover, these measurements were independent of absolute acoustic reflection amplitude and used short imaging protocols (3 min) without control measurements.
No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microbubble production by microfluidic devices for ultrasound contrast enhancement allows for precise control over microbubble diameter but at the cost of low production rate and poor microbubble stability. In this work, we investigated whether microbubbles produced by a microfluidic device could provide sufficient ultrasound contrast enhancement when directly injected into the mouse tail vein. Microfluidic-produced microbubbles composed of nitrogen gas and stabilized with 10% dextrose and 3% bovine serum albumin were injected for 10 seconds into the tail vein of wild type C57BL/6 mice. Short-axis ultrasound images of the right and left ventricle were acquired at 12.5 MHz and image intensity over time was analyzed. Microbubble production rates ranged between 2.5×105 and 8.3×105 microbubbles/s, and microbubble diameters were between 9.1 and 19 μm. In all cases, microbubbles were observed in both the right and left ventricle, although the average contrast enhancement was approximately 13.5 dB lower in the left ventricle than in the right ventricle. All mice survived the procedure with no observable respiratory or heart rate distress. The results of this work suggest that on-site production and immediate administration to the murine vasculature may eliminate the necessity for high microbubble production rates, long-term stability, or small microbubble diameters.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Molecularly targeted ultrasound contrast agents have been shown to identify previously-ischemic regions of the myocardium by targeting cell adhesion molecules that are displayed on activated endothelial surfaces in response to ischemia/reperfusion injury. An improved method for targeted microbubble (MB) delivery using constant infusion and dual targeted microbubbles is presented to enable better characterization of microbubble interaction with activated endothelium. Ten male C57BL/6 mice underwent 15-minute Left Anterior Descending (LAD) coronary occlusion followed by 2-hour reperfusion. Immediately after the 2-hour reperfusion, mouse hearts were imaged with a Sequoia scanner and 15L8 transducer. All mice received three of five MB preparations in random order: Sialyl Lewis X MB (MBX), anti-P-Selectin (MBP), anti-VCAM MB (MBV), Sialyl Lewis X + anti-VCAM MB (MBD), and isotype control MB (MBI). Subsequently, mouse hearts were excised and stained with TTC & Phthalo blue dyes to assess infarct size and area at risk, respectively. Video data indicated that the binding of targeted MB to ischemic regions was significantly higher for MBD, MBX, MBP, and MBV, compared to MBI (p<0.05). Furthermore, normalized intensity for MBD was higher than both MBX and MBV (p<0.05). Using Phthalo blue dye as the gold standard, receiver operating curve analysis demonstrated accurate detection of both ischemic and non-ischemic regions using MBD (AUC = 0.90), MBX (AUC = 0.89), MBP (AUC = 0.87), and MBV (AUC = 0.97).