Laser-activated perfluorocarbon nanodroplets: a new tool for blood brain barrier opening

Kristina A. Hallam, Eleanor M. Donnelly, Andrei B. Karpiouk, Robin K. Hartman, Stanislav Y. Emelianov
Biomedical Optics Express2018
A major obstacle in the monitoring and treatment of neurological diseases is the blood brain barrier (BBB), a semipermeable barrier that prevents the delivery of many therapeutics and imaging contrast agents to the brain. In this work, we explored the possibility of laser-activated perfluorocarbon nanodroplets (PFCnDs) to open the BBB and deliver agents to the brain tissue. Specifically, near infrared (NIR) dye-loaded PFCnDs comprised of a perfluorocarbon (PFC) core with a boiling point above physiological temperature were repeatedly vaporized and recondensed from liquid droplet to gas bubble under pulsed laser excitation. As a result, this pulse-to-pulse repeated behavior enabled the recurring interaction of PFCnDs with the endothelial lining of the BBB, allowing for a BBB opening and extravasation of dye into the brain tissue. The blood brain barrier opening and delivery of agents to tissue was confirmed on the macro and the molecular level by evaluating Evans Blue staining, ultrasound-guided photoacoustic (USPA) imaging, and histological tissue analysis. The demonstrated PFCnD-assisted pulsed laser method for BBB opening, therefore, represents a tool that has the potential to enable non-invasive, cost-effective, and efficient image-guided delivery of contrast and therapeutic agents to the brain.

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