Unbinding of targeted ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles by secondary acoustic forces

V Garbin, M Overvelde, B Dollet, Nico Jong, D Lohse, M Versluis

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Targeted molecular imaging with ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles is achieved by incorporating targeting ligands on the bubble coating and allows for specific imaging of tissues affected by diseases. Improved understanding of the interplay between the acoustic forces acting on the bubbles during insonation with ultrasound and other forces (e. g. shear due to blood flow, binding of targeting ligands to receptors on cell membranes) can help improve the efficacy of this technique. This work focuses on the effects of the secondary acoustic radiation force, which causes bubbles to attract each other and may affect the adhesion of targeted bubbles. First, we examine the translational dynamics of ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles in contact with (but not adherent to) a semi-rigid membrane due to the secondary acoustic radiation force. An equation of motion that effectively accounts for the proximity of the membrane is developed, and the predictions of the model are compared with experimental data extracted from optical recordings at 15 million frames per second. A time-averaged model is also proposed and validated. In the second part of the paper, initial results on the translation due to the secondary acoustic radiation force of targeted, adherent bubbles are presented. Adherent bubbles are also found to move due to secondary acoustic radiation force, and a restoring force is observed that brings them back to their initial positions. For increasing magnitude of the secondary acoustic radiation force, a threshold is reached above which the adhesion of targeted microbubbles is disrupted. This points to the fact that secondary acoustic radiation forces can cause adherent bubbles to detach and alter the spatial distribution of targeted contrast agents bound to tissues during activation with ultrasound. While the details of the rupture of intermolecular bonds remain elusive, this work motivates the use of the secondary acoustic radiation force to measure the strength of adhesion of targeted microbubbles.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)6161-6177
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Research programs

  • EMC COEUR-09

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