Therapeutic Ultrasound Increases Myocardial Blood Flow in Ischemic Myocardium and Cardiac Endothelial Cells: Results of In Vivo and In Vitro Experiments

Brian Mott, Azzdine Ammi, Dai-Trang (Elizabeth) Le, Catherine Davis, Igor V. Dykan, Yan Zhao, Mathew Nugent, Jessica Minnier, Mohanika Gowda, Nabil Alkayed, Sanjiv Kaul

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Background: Therapeutic ultrasound can reduce infarct size in a model of coronary thrombosis even when sonothrombolysis is ineffective. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that ultrasound-induced cardioprotection is mediated by molecules released from the vascular endothelium that increase myocardial blood flow (MBF) and also have direct tissue-salvaging effects. Methods: In vivo and in vitro experiments were performed using a 1.05-MHz transducer. For the in vivo experiments 10 control and 10 ultrasound-treated dogs undergoing occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery were studied. MBF was measured using myocardial contrast echocardiography. For the in vitro experiments, primary mouse cardiac endothelial cells were exposed to ultrasound at baseline or following oxygen-glucose deprivation and endothelial nitric oxide synthase phosphorylation as well as adenosine and the eicosanoids epoxyeicosatrienoic acids, dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids, and hydroxyl-eicosatetraenoic acids were measured. Results: In vivo, ultrasound treatment caused higher MBF (20 ± 10 vs 10 ± 8, P = .03) and higher wall thickening (3 ± 3% vs 1 ± 0.4%, P = .01) in the collateral-derived border zone compared with control. Epicardial MBF in the left anterior descending coronary artery bed also tended to be higher (17 ± 17 vs 5 ± 4, P = .05) in ultrasound-treated versus control animals; however, endocardial MBF in this region was similar to that in controls (13 ± 14 vs 14 ± 7). In vitro, phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase and adenosine increased (by 129 ± 11% and 286 ± 63%, respectively, P < .01) with ultrasound compared with unstimulated cells. Similar results were obtained with epoxyeicosatrienoic acids. After oxygen-glucose deprivation, phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase decreased and was restored with application of ultrasound. Similar changes were noted with epoxyeicosatrienoic acids. Cell viability decreased with oxygen-glucose deprivation and returned to near baseline with ultrasound. Conclusions: Ultrasound increases MBF in ischemic tissue in vivo. This effect is likely mediated by the release of a plethora of coronary vasodilators during ultrasound treatment that also have direct tissue-salvaging effects. Therapeutic ultrasound, therefore, has potential for treatment of acute and chronic myocardial ischemia independent of its effect on thrombolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Adenosine
  • Eicosanoids
  • eNOS
  • Myocardial blood flow
  • Therapeutic ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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