The mechanical effects of focused ultrasound can interact with endothelial cells in a manner that induces angiogenesis – the process through which new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels.1,2

This interaction causes the release of various angiogenic factors such as IL-8, bFGF, eNOS, and in particular VEGF.3,4 Microbubbles can be used to enhance this effect, and VEGF expression has been found to be positively correlated with the concentration of microbubbles administered.5,6 Possible mechanisms for this effect include intercellular communications with the endothelium and nearby cells4 and the activation and infiltration of immune cells that are capable of inducing neovascularization.7,8

Angiogenesis therapies have commonly been used in the treatment of chronic wounds, peripheral arterial disease, and ischemic heart disease.4,5 The drawbacks of current angiogenesis treatments for these disorders include invasiveness and non-specificity.5 Focused ultrasound may be able to overcome these obstacles by providing a noninvasive and targeted means of inducing angiogenesis.

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