Recent studies have shown that shockwave heating and millisecond boiling in high-intensity focused ultrasound fields can result in mechanical fractionation or emulsification of tissue, termed boiling histotripsy. Visual observations of the change in color and contents indicated that the degree of thermal damage in the emulsified lesions can be controlled by varying the parameters of the exposure. The goal of this work was to examine thermal and mechanical effects in boiling histotripsy lesions using histologic and biochemical analysis. The lesions were induced in ex vivo bovine heart and liver using a 2-MHz single-element transducer operating at duty factors of 0.005-0.01, pulse durations of 5-500 ms and in situ shock amplitude of 73 MPa. Mechanical and thermal damage to tissue was evaluated histologically using conventional staining techniques (hematoxylin and eosin, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-diaphorase). Thermal effects were quantified by measuring denaturation of salt soluble proteins in the treated region. According to histologic analysis, the lesions that visually appeared as a liquid contained no cellular structures larger than a cell nucleus and had a sharp border of one to two cells. Both histologic and protein analysis showed that lesions obtained with short pulses (<10 ms) did not contain any thermal damage. Increasing the pulse duration resulted in an increase in thermal damage. However, both protein analysis and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-diaphorase staining showed less denaturation than visually observed as whitening of tissue. The number of high-intensity focused ultrasound pulses delivered per exposure did not change the lesion shape or the degree of thermal denaturation, whereas the size of the lesion showed a saturating behavior suggesting optimal exposure duration. This study confirmed that boiling histotripsy offers an effective, predictable way to non-invasively fractionate tissue into sub-cellular fragments with or without inducing thermal damage.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.10.012
View details for Web of Science ID 000314872200007
View details for PubMedID 23312958
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3570648