Ultrasound Responsive Noble Gas Microbubbles for Applications in Image-Guided Gas Delivery

Rajarshi Chattaraj, Misun Hwang, Serge D. Zemerov, Ivan J. Dmochowski, Daniel A. Hammer, Daeyeon Lee, Chandra M. Sehgal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Noble gases, especially xenon (Xe), have been shown to have antiapoptotic effects in treating hypoxia ischemia related injuries. Currently, in vivo gas delivery is systemic and performed through inhalation, leading to reduced efficacy at the injury site. This report provides a first demonstration of the encapsulation of pure Xe, Ar, or He in phospholipid-coated sub-10 µm microbubbles, without the necessity of stabilizing perfluorocarbon additives. Optimization of shell compositions and preparation techniques show that distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DSPC) with DSPE-PEG5000 can produce stable microbubbles upon shaking, while dibehenoylphosphatidylcholine (DBPC) blended with either DSPE-PEG2000 or DSPE-PEG5000 produces a high yield of microbubbles via a sonication/centrifugation method. Xe and Ar concentrations released into the microbubble suspension headspace are measured using GC-MS, while Xe released directly in solution is detected by the fluorescence quenching of a Xe-sensitive cryptophane molecule. Bubble production is found to be amenable to scale-up while maintaining their size distribution and stability. Excellent ultrasound contrast is observed in a phantom for several minutes under physiological conditions, while an intravenous administration of a bolus of pure Xe microbubbles provides significant contrast in a mouse in pre- and post-lung settings (heart and kidney, respectively), paving the way for image-guided, localized gas delivery for theranostic applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1901721
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


  • argon
  • cryptophanes
  • helium
  • image-guided delivery
  • microbubbles
  • phospholipids
  • ultrasound
  • xenon


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