Ultrasound imaging of oxidative stress in vivo with chemically-generated gas microbubbles

John Kangchun Perng, Seungjun Lee, Kousik Kundu, Charles F. Caskey, Sarah F. Knight, Sarp Satir, Katherine W. Ferrara, W. Robert Taylor, F. Levent Degertekin, Daniel Sorescu, Niren Murthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) have tremendous potential for in vivo molecular imaging because of their high sensitivity. However, the diagnostic potential of UCAs has been difficult to exploit because current UCAs are based on pre-formed microbubbles, which can only detect cell surface receptors. Here, we demonstrate that chemical reactions that generate gas forming molecules can be used to perform molecular imaging by ultrasound in vivo. This new approach was demonstrated by imaging reactive oxygen species in vivo with allylhydrazine, a liquid compound that is converted into nitrogen and propylene gas after reacting with radical oxidants. We demonstrate that allylhydrazine encapsulated within liposomes can detect a 10 micromolar concentration of radical oxidants by ultrasound, and can image oxidative stress in mice, induced by lipopolysaccharide, using a clinical ultrasound system. We anticipate numerous applications of chemically-generated microbubbles for molecular imaging by ultrasound, given ultrasound's ability to detect small increments above the gas saturation limit, its spatial resolution and widespread clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2059-2068
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Bubble nucleation
  • Chemical gas generation
  • Molecular imaging
  • Oxidative stress
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Ultrasound contrast agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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