Ultrasound-triggered imaging and drug delivery using microbubble-self-aggregate complexes

In Jae Chung, Hyungwon Moon, Seong Ik Jeon, Hak Jong Lee, Cheol Hee Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Co-delivery of microbubbles (MBs) with anticancer drugs is a promising theranostic approach that can enhance both the ultrasound contrast and local extravasation of drugs with the sonoporation effect. The simultaneous administration of MBs and hydrophobic drugs, however, is still challenging due to the limitations in drug loading or undesirable stabilization of MBs. In this research, MB-self-aggregate complexes (MB-SAs) were newly fabricated for the encapsulation of hydrophobic drugs, and their theranostic properties are investigated in vitro and in vivo. Glycol chitosan self-aggregates (GC-SAs) loaded with hydrophobic drugs or dyes were chemically conjugated on the surface MBs. Their conjugation ratio was determined to be 73.9%, and GC-SAs on MBs did not affect the stability of MBs. GC-SA attached MBs (GC@MBs) were successfully visualized with low-intensity insonation and showed enhanced cellular uptake via the sonoporation effect. In vivo biodistribution of GC@MBs was examined with tumor-bearing mice, confirming that their accumulation at the tumor site increased by 1.85 times after ultrasound irradiation. The anticancer drug-loaded GC@MBs also exhibited 10% higher cytotoxicity under ultrasound flash. In conclusion, it was expected that GC@MBs could be used both as an ultrasound contrast agent and a drug carrier even with conventional ultrasonic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-76
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Microbubble
  • drug delivery
  • optical imaging
  • self-aggregate
  • ultrasound imaging


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