Delivery of Na/I symporter gene into skeletal muscle using nanobubbles and ultrasound: Visualization of gene expression by PET

Yukiko Watanabe, Sachiko Horie, Yoshihito Funaki, Youhei Kikuchi, Hiromichi Yamazaki, Keizo Ishii, Shiro Mori, Georges Vassaux, Tetsuya Kodama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The development of nonviral gene delivery systems is essential in gene therapy, and the use of a minimally invasive imaging methodology can provide important clinical endpoints. In the current study, we present a new methodology for gene therapy-a delivery system using nanobubbles and ultrasound as a nonviral gene delivery method. We assessed whether the gene transfer allowed by this methodology was detectable by PET and bioluminescence imaging. Methods: Two kinds of reported vectors (luciferase and human Na/I symporter [hNIS]) were transfected or cotransfected into the skeletal muscles of normal mice (BALB/c) using the ultrasound-nanobubbles method. The kinetics of luciferase gene expression were analyzed in vivo using bioluminescence imaging. At the peak of gene transfer, PET of hNIS expression was performed using our recently developed PET scanner, after 124I injection. The imaging data were confirmed using reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction amplification, biodistribution, and a blocking study. The imaging potential of the 2 methodologies was evaluated in 2 mouse models of human pathology (McH/lpr-RA1 mice showing vascular disease and C57BL/10-mdx Jic mice showing muscular dystrophy). Results: Peak luciferase gene activity was observed in the skeletal muscle 4 d after transfection. On day 2 after hNIS and luciferase cotransfection, the expression of these genes was confirmed by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction on a muscle biopsy. PET of the hNIS gene, biodistribution, the blocking study, and autoradiography were performed on day 4 after transfection, and it was indicated that hNIS expression was restricted to the site of plasmid administration (skeletal muscle). Similar localized PET and 124I accumulation were successfully obtained in the diseasemodel mice. Conclusion: The hNIS gene was delivered into the skeletal muscle of healthy and disease-model mice by the ultrasound-nanobubbles method, and gene expression was successfully visualized with PET. The combination of ultrasound-nanobubble gene transfer and PET may be applied to gene therapy clinical protocols. COPYRIGHT

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-958
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun


  • I
  • Nanobubbles
  • NIS gene
  • PET
  • Ultrasound


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