Localized, targeted delivery of small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) has been the foremost hurdle in the use of siRNA for the treatment of various diseases. Major advances have been achieved in the synthesis of siRNA, which have led to greater target messenger RNA (mRNA) silencing and stability under physiologic conditions. Although numerous delivery strategies have shown promise, there are still limited options for targeted delivery and release of siRNA administered systemically. In this in vitro study, phase-shift nano-emulsions (PSNE) were explored as cavitation nuclei to facilitate free siRNA delivery to cancer cells via sonoporation. A cell suspension containing varying amounts of PSNE and siRNA was exposed to 5-MHz pulsed ultrasound at fixed settings (6.2-MPa peak negative pressure, 5-cycle pulses, 250-Hz pulse repetition frequency (PRF) and total exposure duration of 100 s). Inertial cavitation emissions were detected throughout the exposure using a passive cavitation detector. Successful siRNA delivery was achieved (i.e., >50% cell uptake) with high (>80%) viability. The percentage of cells with siRNA uptake was correlated with the amount of inertial cavitation activity generated from vaporized PSNE. The siRNA remained functional after delivery, significantly reducing expression of green fluorescent protein in a stably transfected cell line. These results indicate that vaporized PSNE can facilitate siRNA entry into the cytosol of a majority of sonicated cells and may provide a non-endosomal route for siRNA delivery.
Small interfering RNAAcoustic cavitationSonoporationMicrobubblesPhase-shift nano-emulsionsUltrasoundAcoustic droplet vaporizationNanomedicine