285159 Tunable Drug-Encapsulated Ultrasound Contrast Agents
Ultrasound contrast agents using micron-sized bubbles (less than 8 µm in diameter) have potential to be drug delivery vehicles in addition to targeted molecular imaging. However, challenge remains in terms of producing monodisperse microbubbles stable against gas dissolution for improving blood circulation times. In the case of drug delivery, it is crucial to control destruction to release encapsulated contents only to the targeted area with minimal prior passive leakage of drug. By using a photopolymerizable diacetylene lipid as a component in a microbubble shell matrix, the surface properties such as elasticity or resistivity against gas dissolution can be tuned,2 which therefore enables imaging at one frequency and drug release in the area of interest at a different frequency. Drug-encapsulated monodisperse bubbles are created using a double emulsion microfluidic technique to increase capacity of drug encapsulated.
Polymerizable lipid mixtures, consisting of 10 mol% of ethylene glycol diacetylene lipids (h-PEG1PCDA), 15 mol% of PEG-diacetylene lipids (m-PEG5000-PCDA) and L-α-phosphatidylcholine, hydro soy PC were used. The microfluidic flow focusing device designs were adapted from Hettiarachchi et al.3,4 Paclitaxel in triacetin (0.1mg/ml) was used as a test drug and 1 mol% of the total paclitaxel was fluorescently labeled oregon green 488-paclitaxel for a FITC filter.
The size distribution of the polymerized shell microbubbles (PSM) produced by microfluidic flow focusing technique and commercially available microbubbles (Vevo MicroMarker, VMM) was observed to be 2.2 µm with 8% polydispersity, and 2.3 µm with 36% polydispersity, respectively. The PSM showed a significantly slower decrease in intensity of gray-scale ultrasound image brightness than VMM or nonpolymerizable soy PC shell microbubbles (NSM). The half-life (tH the time for the ultrasound signal to drop 6 dB in brightness) for the 25%DA was tH = 5 min, and for both VMM and NSM, tH < 1 min. The brightness of the 25%DA decreased by 14 dB after 15 min, whereas the VMM brightness decreased by 36 dB, suggesting rapid microbubble destruction. In addition, the bubbles polymerized to different extents (tpolym) showed variable destruction rates at different ultrasound power levels. This suggests that polymerization can not only provide passive bubble longevity but tunable rupture capability. The double emulsion microfluidic device produced the paclitaxel encapsulated microbubbles. The FITC-filtered image shows the location of paclitaxel within the shell. These results indicate that the dissolution of microbubbles in the bloodstream or under ultrasound stimulation is tunable by varying the fraction of polymerizable lipid or polymerization time. Therefore, these tunable microbubbles have the potential to be customized ultrasound contrast agents for targeted molecular imaging and therapeutic treatment applications.
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