Nitrogen-filled liposomes as a vascular US contrast agent: Preliminary evaluation

Evan C. Unger, Pamela J. Lund, De Kang Shen, Thomas A. Fritz, David Yellowhair, Terri E. New

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Liposomes with a mean diameter of 1-2 μm were made to entrap nitrogen gas and tested as an ultrasound (US) contrast agent. The gas-filled liposomes, or Aerosomes (ImaRx Pharmaceutical, Tucson) were tested in vitro for size, stability, reflectivity, and acoustic characterization, and were tested in vivo for acute toxicity in mice and for cardiac imaging in rabbits after intravenous injection. Aerosomes have much greater reflectivity and higher attenuation than do standard liposomes and retain their acoustic properties after storage in aqueous media for several months. The interpolated median lethal dose of Aerosomes is approximately 2.5 mmol of lipid per kilogram, and the imaging dose is under 5 μmol of lipid per kilogram, yielding a potential therapeutic index of over 500 to 1. Postcontrast US images showed sustained enhancement of all four cardiac chambers as well as enhancement in the aorta, vena cava, and hepatic veins. Aerosomes hold promise as a contrast agent for cardiac and blood-pool imaging. Further work is in progress to characterize and develop this novel US contrast agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-456
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • Blood, US, 9*.12988
  • Contrast media, experimental studies, 9*.12988
  • Heart, US, 521.12981
  • Liposomes
  • Ultrasound (US), contrast media, 9*.12988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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