Ultrasonic gene and drug delivery using eLiposomes
eLiposomes are liposomes encapsulating emulsions and therapeutics for targeted delivery. By applying ultrasound to eLiposomes, emulsion droplets can transform from liquid to gas and rupture the lipid bilayer of the eLiposome to release a drug or plasmid. In this study, perfluoropentane (PFC5) emulsions were encapsulated inside folated eLiposomes carrying a model drug (calcein) or a model GFP plasmid to examine the effects of a folate ligand, PFC5 emulsion and various ultrasonic acoustic parameters in drug delivery and gene transfection into HeLa cells. Confocal microscopy was used to quantify drug delivery and the level of plasmid transfection into HeLa cells. The results showed that drug delivery or transfection was minimal without incorporation of internal PFC5 emulsions and folate ligand on the eLiposome surface. It was also shown that application of ultrasound greatly enhanced the drug delivery and plasmid transfection. Delivery of these therapeutics appears to be to the cytosol, indicating that the expansion of the emulsion droplets disrupted both the eLiposomes and the endosomes.