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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2012 Nov;38(11):1989-97. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.07.019. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Acoustic radiation force for vascular cell therapy: in vitro validation.

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Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Cell-based therapeutic approaches are attractive for the restoration of the protective endothelial layer in arteries affected by atherosclerosis or following angioplasty and stenting. We have recently demonstrated a novel technique for the delivery of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that are surface-coated with cationic lipid microbubbles (MBs) and displaced by acoustic radiation force (ARF) to a site of arterial injury. The objective of this study was to characterize ultrasound parameters for effective acoustic-based delivery of cell therapy. In vitro experiments were performed in a vascular flow phantom where MB-tagged MSCs were delivered toward the phantom wall using ARF generated with an intravascular ultrasound catheter. The translation motion velocity and adhesion of the MB-cell complexes were analyzed. Experimental data indicated that MSC radial velocity and adhesion to the vessel phantom increased with the time-averaged ultrasound intensity up to 1.65 W/cm², after which no further significant adhesion was observed. Temperature increase from baseline near the catheter was 5.5 ± 0.8°C with this setting. Using higher time-averaged ultrasound intensities may not significantly benefit the adhesion of MB-cell complexes to the target vessel wall (p = NS), but could cause undesirable biologic effects such as heating to the MB-cell complexes and surrounding tissue. For the highest time-averaged ultrasound intensity of 6.60 W/cm², the temperature increase was 11.6 ± 1.3°C.

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