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Tissue Eng Part A. 2011 May;17(9-10):1457-64. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2010.0539. Epub 2011 Feb 27.

Vascular endoluminal delivery of mesenchymal stem cells using acoustic radiation force.

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Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Restoration of functional endothelium is a requirement for preventing late stent thrombosis. We propose a novel method for targeted delivery of stem cells to a site of arterial injury using ultrasound-generated acoustic radiation force. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were surface-coated electrostatically with cationic gas-filled lipid microbubbles (mb-MSC). mb-MSC was characterized microscopically and by flow cytometry. The effect of ultrasound (5 MHz) on directing mb-MSC movement toward the vessel wall under physiologic flow conditions was tested in vitro in a vessel phantom. In vivo testing of acoustic radiation force-mediated delivery of mb-MSCs to balloon-injured aorta was performed in rabbits using intravascular ultrasound (1.7 MHz) during intra-aortic infusion of mb-MSCs. Application of ultrasound led to marginalization and adhesion of mb-MSCs to the vessel phantom wall, whereas no effect was observed on mb-MSCs in the absence of ultrasound. The effect was maximal when there were 7±1 microbubbles/cell (n=6). In rabbits (n=6), adherent MSCs were observed in the ultrasound-treated aortic segment 20 min after the injection (334±137 MSCs/cm(2)), whereas minimal adhesion was observed in control segments not exposed to ultrasound (2±1 MSCs/cm(2), p<0.05). At 24 h after mb-MSC injection and ultrasound treatment, the engrafted MSCs persisted and spread out on the luminal surface of the artery. The data demonstrate proof of principle that acoustic radiation force can target delivery of therapeutic cells to a specific endovascular treatment site. This approach may be used for endoluminal cellular paving and could provide a powerful tool for cell-based re-endothelialization of injured arterial segments.

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