New insights on the role of ROS in the mechanisms of sonoporation-mediated gene delivery

  • Recherche,
  • Santé-Sciences-Technologie,
  • Santé-social,

le 23 mars 2020

Published in Ultrason Sonochem

Projet de recherche collaborative dirigé par le Dr. Bouakaz

New insights on the role of ROS in the mechanisms of sonoporation-mediated gene delivery


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are hypothesized to play a role in the sonoporation mechanisms. Nevertheless, the acoustical phenomenon behind the ROS production as well as the exact mechanisms of ROS action involved in the increased cell membrane permeability are still not fully understood. Therefore, we investigated the key processes occurring at the molecular level in and around microbubbles subjected to ultrasound using computational chemistry methods. To confirm the molecular simulation predictions, we measured the ROS production by exposing SonoVue® microbubbles (MBs) to ultrasound using biological assays. To investigate the role of ROS in cell membrane permeabilization, cells were subjected to ultrasound in presence of MBs and plasmid encoding reporter gene, and the transfection level was assessed using flow cytometry. The molecular simulations showed that under sonoporation conditions, ROS can form inside the MBs. These radicals could easily diffuse through the MB shell toward the surrounding aqueous phase and participate in the permeabilization of nearby cell membranes. Experimental data confirmed that MBs favor spontaneous formation of a host of free radicals where HO was the main ROS species after US exposure. The presence of ROS scavengers/inhibitors during the sonoporation process decreased both the production of ROS and the subsequent transfection level without significant loss of cell viability. In conclusion, the exposure of MBs to ultrasound might be the origin of chemical effects, which play a role in the cell membrane permeabilization and in the in vitro gene delivery when generated in its proximity.

Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Membrane #permeabilization; #Microbubble; #Molecular simulations; #ROS; #Sonoporation; #Ultrasound

Contact :
Dr. Ayache Bouakaz :