Delivery of oligodeoxynucleotides into human saphenous veins and the adjunct effect of ultrasound and microbubbles

Tetsuya Kodama, Peng H. Tan, Ifeoma Offiah, Terence Partridge, Terence Cook, Andrew J.T. George, Martin J.K. Blomley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Therapy with naked oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs, molecular weight: 3000 to 7500) provides an elegant means of modulating gene expression without the problems associated with conventional gene therapy, but the relatively low transfer efficiency on intravascular administration is a limitation to clinical application. Ultrasound, which can be potentiated by microbubbles, shows promise as a method of delivering macromolecules such as plasmid DNA and other transgenes into cells. Since uptake of molecules into cells depends on their molecular weight, it might be expected that the delivery of ODNs, which are relatively small, will be facilitated by ultrasound and microbubbles. In the present study, we delivered ODNs into veins using ultrasound and microbubbles. First, we quantified the uptake of fluorescent-labeled ODNs into intact ex vivo human saphenous veins and isolated smooth muscle cells from the veins, evaluating the effect of ultrasound and microbubbles on uptake. Ultrasound potentiated the delivery of ODN in cells, except at high concentrations. When intact veins were studied, we achieved nuclear localization of fluorescent-labeled ODNs in cells. This increased with increasing concentration and incubation time and was not potentiated by ultrasound, even when microbubbles were used. We then applied a therapeutic ODN (antisense to intercellular adhesion molecule 1, ICAM-1) to vein samples and documented a functional inhibition of gene expression in a sequence-specific manner at the protein level with immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis. Again, no significant difference was seen with adjunct ultrasound. These observations suggest high diffusion of ODNs into human saphenous veins in this ex vivo model, indicating potential applications to inhibition of vascular bypass graft occlusion and other vasculopathies. Although microbubble-ultrasound was of value with cells in culture, it was not beneficial with intact veins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1683-1691
Number of pages9
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Dec


  • microbubbles
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Saphenous veins
  • Ultrasound


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