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Sonoporation at Small and Large Length Scales: Effect of Cavitation Bubble Collapse on Membranes

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 07:11 by Haohao Fu, Jeffrey Comer, Wensheng Cai, Christophe Chipot
Ultrasound has emerged as a promising means to effect controlled delivery of therapeutic agents through cell membranes. One possible mechanism that explains the enhanced permeability of lipid bilayers is the fast contraction of cavitation bubbles produced on the membrane surface, thereby generating large impulses, which, in turn, enhance the permeability of the bilayer to small molecules. In the present contribution, we investigate the collapse of bubbles of different diameters, using atomistic and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to calculate the force exerted on the membrane. The total impulse can be computed rigorously in numerical simulations, revealing a superlinear dependence of the impulse on the radius of the bubble. The collapse affects the structure of a nearby immobilized membrane, and leads to partial membrane invagination and increased water permeation. The results of the present study are envisioned to help optimize the use of ultrasound, notably for the delivery of drugs.

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