Delivery of Molecules to the Lymph Node via Lymphatic Vessels Using Ultrasound and Nano/Microbubbles

Shigeki Kato, Yuko Shirai, Hiroyuki Kanzaki, Maya Sakamoto, Shiro Mori, Tetsuya Kodama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Lymph node (LN) dissection is the primary option for head and neck cancer when imaging modalities and biopsy confirm metastasis to the sentinel LN. However, there are no effective alternative treatments to dissection for LN metastasis. Here, we describe a novel drug delivery system combining nano/microbubbles (NMBs) with ultrasound (US) that exhibits considerable potential for the delivery of exogenous molecules into LNs through the lymphatic vessels. A solution containing fluorophores (as a model of a therapeutic molecule) and NMBs was injected into the subiliac LNs of MXH10/Mo- lpr/. lpr mice, which develop systemic swelling of LNs (up to 13 mm in diameter, similar to human LNs). It was found that the NMBs were delivered to the entire area of the proper axillary LN (proper-ALN) via the lymphatic channels and that these were retained there for more than 8 min. Furthermore, exposure to US in the presence of NMBs enhanced the delivery of fluorophores into the lymphocytes near the lymphatic channels, compared with exposure to US in the absence of NMBs. It is proposed that a system using US and NMBs to deliver therapeutic drugs via lymphatic vessels can serve as a new treatment method for LN metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1421
Number of pages11
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 May 1


  • Cavitation
  • Drug delivery system
  • Lymph node metastasis
  • Nano/microbubbles
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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