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Year: 2010  |  Volume: 122  |  Issue: 16  |  Page No.: 1578 - 1587

In Vivo Therapeutic Gas Delivery for Neuroprotection With Echogenic Liposomes

G. L Britton, H Kim, P. H Kee, J Aronowski, C. K Holland, D. D McPherson and S. L. Huang



Ischemia-related neurological injury is a primary cause of stroke disability. Studies have demonstrated that xenon (Xe) may have potential as an effective and nontoxic neuroprotectant. Xe delivery is, however, hampered by lack of suitable administration methods. We have developed a pressurization-freeze method to encapsulate Xe into echogenic liposomes (Xe-ELIP) and have modulated local gas release with transvascular ultrasound exposure.

Methods and Results—

Fifteen microliters of Xe were encapsulated into each 1 mg of liposomes (70% Xe and 30% argon). Xe delivery from Xe-ELIP into cells and consequent neuroprotective effects were evaluated with oxygen/glucose-deprived and control neuronal cells in vitro. Xe-ELIP were administered into Sprague-Dawley rats intravenously or intra-arterially after right middle cerebral artery occlusion. One-megahertz low-amplitude (0.18 MPa) continuous wave ultrasound directed onto the internal carotid artery triggered Xe release from circulating Xe-ELIP. Effects of Xe delivery on ischemia-induced neurological injury and disability were evaluated. Xe-ELIP delivery to oxygen/glucose-deprived neuronal cells improved cell viability in vitro and resulted in a 48% infarct volume decrease in vivo. Intravenous Xe-ELIP administration in combination with the ultrasound directed onto the carotid artery enhanced local Xe release from circulating Xe-ELIP and demonstrated 75% infarct volume reduction. This was comparable to the effect after intra-arterial administration. Behavioral tests on limb placement and grid and beam walking correlated with infarct reduction.


This novel methodology may provide a noninvasive strategy for ultrasound-enhanced local therapeutic gas delivery for cerebral ischemia–related injury while minimizing systemic side effects.

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