Nonviral Transfection of Suspension Cells in Ultrasound Standing Wave Fields

Yu Hsiang Lee, Ching An Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ultrasound-induced cavitation has been widely used for delivering DNA vectors into cells. However, this approach may seriously disrupt cell membranes and cause lethal damage when cells are exposed to the inertial cavitation field. In this study, instead of using sonoporation, ultrasound standing wave fields (USWF) were explored for nonviral transfection of suspension cells. Acoustic resonance in a tubular chamber was generated from the interference of waves emitted from a piezoelectric transducer and consequently reflected from a borosilicate glass coverslip. The suspended K562 erythroleukemia cells were transfected by polyethyleneimine (PEI)/DNA complexes with and without exposure to 1-MHz USWF for 5 min. During USWF exposure, K562 cells moved to the pressure nodal planes first and formed cell bands by the primary radiation force. Nanometer-sized PEI/DNA complexes, circulated between nodal planes by acoustic microstreaming, then used the cell agglomerates as the nucleating sites on which to attach. After incubation at 37°C for 48 h, the efficiency of nonviral transfection based on EGFP transgene expression was determined by fluorescent microscopy and fluorometry. Both studies showed that USWF brought suspended K562 cells and PEI/DNA complexes into close contact at the pressure nodal planes, yielding an approximately 10-fold increment of EGFP transgene expression compared with the group without ultrasonic treatment. (E-mail:

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-742
Number of pages9
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Nonviral gene delivery
  • PEI/DNA complex
  • Sonoporation
  • Transfection
  • Ultrasound standing wave fields


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