Enhancement of vascular permeability with low-frequency contrast-enhanced ultrasound in the chorioallantoic membrane model

Susanne M. Stieger, Charles F. Caskey, Roger H. Adamson, Shengping Qin, Fitz Roy E Curry, Erik R Wisner, Katherine W. Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Purpose: To characterize the effect of low-frequency contrast material-enhanced ultrasound on the vascular endothelium and to determine the parameters and techniques required to deliver a therapeutic agent by using the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model. Materials and Methods: All in vivo animal procedures were conducted with institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval. Extravasation of 8.5-nm-diameter fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled dextran was evaluated in the vasculature of a chick CAM model. Intravital microscopy was performed during contrast-enhanced ultrasound exposure (1.00 or 2.25 MHz): results were compared with results of electron microscopy of the insonated regions. Data acquired after insonation with greater mechanical stress (n = 30 animals) (mechanical index [MI] > 1.3) and with lower mechanical stress (n = 86 animals) (MI < 1.13) were compared with measurements in control conditions (n = 46 animals). The diameter of affected vessels; number of extravasation sites; extravasation rate, area, and location; and changes in endothelial cells and basement membrane were evaluated. Differences were tested with analysis of variance or the Student t test. Results: After ultrasound application, convective transport of the model drug was observed through micron-sized openings with a mean fluid velocity of 188.6 μm/sec in the low-stress class and 362.5 μm/sec in the high-stress class. Electron microscopy revealed micron-sized focal endothelial gaps and disseminated blebs, vacuoles, and lilopodia extending across tens of microns. The threshold pressure for extravasation was 0.5 MPa for a transmitted center frequency of 1.00 MHz (MI = 0.5) and 1.6 MPa for a frequency of 2.25 MHz (MI = 1.06): thus, the frequency dependence of the threshold was not predicted simply by the MI. Conclusion: Low-frequency contrast-enhanced ultrasound can increase vascular permeability and result in convective extravasation of an 8.5-nm-diameter model drug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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