Tailor-Made Single-Core PLGA Microbubbles as Acoustic Cavitation Enhancers for Therapeutic Applications

Shani Tsirkin, Riki Goldbart, Tamar Traitel, Joseph Kost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Microbubbles (MBs), being gas bubbles encapsulated inside a solid shell, have been investigated extensively in the field of therapeutic ultrasound as acoustic cavitation enhancers. Hard-shell MBs have an advantage over soft-shell MBs due to their improved stability. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is one of the most attractive polymers for hard-shell MB synthesis; however, very little is known regarding the effect of synthesis parameters on the acoustic cavitation activity of PLGA MBs and the tunability of this activity. In this study, by manipulating the synthesis parameters, we were able to control the characteristics of the MBs, such as their internal structure, gas core, size distribution, and shell thickness, which significantly affect the total acoustic cavitation activity that they exhibit (i.e., their cavitation dose). We showed that single-core MBs filled with C3F8 gas can produce cavitation effects for extended periods under continuous circulation. These MBs exhibited high stability, and their cavitation activity was not affected by prior circulation in the system. Preliminary in vivo results demonstrated that intravenously injected MBs did not cause adverse effects and produced cavitation activity that increased the permeability of the pig blood-brain barrier. Although more tests should be performed to evaluate the MB long-term safety and activity in vivo, these encouraging results suggest that our PLGA MBs have potential for future therapeutic applications as cavitation enhancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25748-25758
Number of pages11
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number22
StatePublished - 28 May 2021


  • PLGA microbubbles
  • blood-brain barrier opening
  • cavitation enhancers
  • single-core microbubbles
  • steric stabilization
  • tunable cavitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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