Influence of needle gauge on in vivo ultrasound and microbubble-mediated gene transfection

Richard J Browning, Helen Mulvana, Mengxing Tang, Jo V. Hajnal, Dominic J. Wells, Robert J. Eckersley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Ultrasound and microbubble-mediated gene transfection are potential tools for safe, site-selective gene therapy. However, preclinical trials have demonstrated a low transfection efficiency that has hindered the progression of the technique to clinical application. In this paper it is shown that simple changes to the method of intravenous injection can lead to an increase in transfection efficiency when using 6-MHz diagnostic ultrasound and the ultrasound contrast agent, SonoVue. By using needles of progressively smaller gauge, i.e., larger internal diameter (ID), from 29 G (ID 0.184 mm) to 25 G (ID 0.31 mm), the transfection of a luciferase plasmid (pGL4.13) was significantly increased threefold in heart-targeted female CD1 mice. In vitro work indicated that the concentration and size distribution of SonoVue were affected by increasing needle gauge. These results suggest that the process of systemic delivery alters the bubble population and adversely affects transfection. This is exacerbated by using high-gauge needles. These findings demonstrate that the needle with the largest possible ID should be used for systemic delivery of microbubbles and genetic material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1531-1537
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number9
Early online date7 Jul 2011
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2011


  • ultrasound
  • gene transfection
  • microbubble
  • needle gauge
  • luciferase
  • bioluminescence
  • systemic delivery


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of needle gauge on in vivo ultrasound and microbubble-mediated gene transfection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this