Targeting of Magnetic Nanoparticle-coated Microbubbles to the Vascular Wall Empowers Site-specific Lentiviral Gene Delivery in vivo

Theranostics. 2017 Jan 1;7(2):295-307. doi: 10.7150/thno.16192. eCollection 2017.


In the field of vascular gene therapy, targeting systems are promising advancements to improve site-specificity of gene delivery. Here, we studied whether incorporation of magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) with different magnetic properties into ultrasound sensitive microbubbles may represent an efficient way to enable gene targeting in the vascular system after systemic application. Thus, we associated novel silicon oxide-coated magnetic nanoparticle containing microbubbles (SO-Mag MMB) with lentiviral particles carrying therapeutic genes and determined their physico-chemical as well as biological properties compared to MMB coated with polyethylenimine-coated magnetic nanoparticles (PEI-Mag MMB). While there were no differences between both MMB types concerning size and lentivirus binding, SO-Mag MMB exhibited superior characteristics regarding magnetic moment, magnetizability as well as transduction efficiency under static and flow conditions in vitro. Focal disruption of lentiviral SO-Mag MMB by ultrasound within isolated vessels exposed to an external magnetic field decisively improved localized VEGF expression in aortic endothelium ex vivo and enhanced the angiogenic response. Using the same system in vivo, we achieved a highly effective, site-specific lentiviral transgene expression in microvessels of the mouse dorsal skin after arterial injection. Thus, we established a novel lentiviral MMB technique, which has great potential towards site-directed vascular gene therapy.

Keywords: VEGF; endothelial cells.; lentiviral gene delivery; magnetic microbubbles; magnetic targeting; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / drug effects*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Gene Targeting / methods
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Lentivirus / genetics*
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Mice
  • Microbubbles*


  • Magnetite Nanoparticles