Sequential Payload Release from Acoustically-Responsive Scaffolds Using Focused Ultrasound

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2018 Nov;44(11):2323-2335. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2018.06.011. Epub 2018 Aug 2.


Regenerative processes, such as angiogenesis and osteogenesis, often require multiple growth factors with distinct spatiotemporal patterns and expression sequences. Within tissue engineering, hydrogel scaffolds are commonly used for exogenous growth factor delivery. However, direct incorporation of growth factors within conventional hydrogels does not afford spatiotemporally controlled delivery because release is governed by passive mechanisms that cannot be actively controlled after the scaffold is implanted. We have developed acoustically-responsive scaffolds (ARSs), which are fibrin scaffolds doped with payload-containing, sonosensitive emulsions. Payload release from ARSs can be controlled non-invasively and on demand using focused, megahertz-range ultrasound. In the in vitro study described here, we developed and characterized ARSs that enable sequential release of two surrogate, fluorescent payloads using consecutive ultrasound exposures at different acoustic pressures. ARSs were generated with various combinations and volume fractions of perfluoropentane, perfluorohexane, and perfluoroheptane emulsions. Acoustic droplet vaporization and inertial cavitation thresholds correlated with the boiling point/molecular weight of the perfluorocarbon while payload release correlated inversely. Payload release was longitudinally measured and observed to follow a sigmoidal trend versus acoustic pressure. Perfluoropentane and perfluorohexane emulsions were stabilized when incorporated into ARSs with perfluoroheptane emulsion. These results highlight the potential of using ARSs for sequential, dual-payload release for tissue regeneration.

Keywords: Acoustic droplet vaporization; Controlled release; Fibrin; Perfluorocarbon; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Emulsions
  • Fibrin*
  • Fluorocarbons / chemistry*
  • Heptanes
  • Hydrocarbons, Fluorinated
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Pressure
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*
  • Ultrasonics / methods*
  • Volatilization


  • Emulsions
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Heptanes
  • Hydrocarbons, Fluorinated
  • perfluoropentane
  • Fibrin
  • perflexane
  • perfluoroheptane