Ultrasound enhances gene expression of liposomal transfection

Evan C. Unger, Thomas P. McCreery, Robert H. Sweitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES. Cationic liposomes are under development as delivery agents for gene therapy. The authors studied the effect of ultrasound on gene expression in cell cultures during liposomal transfection experiments. METHODS. Cationic liposomes of dipalmitoylethylphosphocholine and dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine were used to transfect cultured HeLa, NIH/3T3, and C127I cells with the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) gene. A cell viability assay was performed on cultured HeLa cells that were exposed to varying durations (5 seconds or 30 seconds) and intensities of 1 MHz continuous-wave therapeutic ultrasound after transfection, and gene expression was measured 48 hours later. RESULTS. Cells survived 30 seconds or less at a power level of 0.5 watts/cm2 but died when exposed for 60 seconds or longer. Exposures of 5 seconds and 30 seconds of ultrasound resulted in significant increases in gene expression in all three cell types tested in this experiment. CONCLUSIONS. Relatively low levels of ultrasound energy can be used to enhance gene expression from liposomal transfection. Additional experiments are needed to optimize this process and clarify the mechanisms involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-727
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1997


  • Gene therapy
  • Liposomes
  • Transfection
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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