Pre-Treatment with Either L-Carnitine or Piracetam Increases Ultrasound-Mediated Gene Transfection by Reducing Sonoporation-Associated Apoptosis

  • Wei-Hao Liao
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

    National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Chueh-Hung Wu
    Address correspondence to: Chueh-Hung Wu, Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

    Institute of Biomedical Engineering, College of Medicine and College of Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Wen-Shiang Chen
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

    Division of Medical Engineering Research, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan
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      Sonoporation, the use of ultrasound to alter the permeability of cell membranes, is a non-viral technique used to facilitate gene delivery, possibly by opening transient pores in the cell membrane. However, sonoporation may have negative bio-effects on cells, such as causing apoptosis, which limits its efficacy in gene delivery. In this study, we investigated whether pre-treatment with either L-carnitine or piracetam could protect cells from undergoing apoptosis after sonoporation and the possible mechanisms. We found that either L-carnitine or piracetam can promote gene transfection without reducing cell viability, possibly by reducing cavitation-induced reactive oxygen species generation, reversing alterations of mitochondrial membrane potential, preventing caspase-3/7 activity and facilitating mitochondrial ATP production. In conclusion, pre-treatment with either L-carnitine or piracetam could protect cells from sonoporation-associated apoptosis by preserving mitochondrial function.

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