Cell Biology and Toxicology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 21–28

Electroporation and ultrasound enhanced non-viral gene delivery in vitro and in vivo


DOI: 10.1007/s10565-009-9144-8

Cite this article as:
Wells, D.J. Cell Biol Toxicol (2010) 26: 21. doi:10.1007/s10565-009-9144-8


Non-viral vectors are less efficient than the use of viral vectors for delivery of genetic material to cells in vitro and especially in vivo. However, viral vectors involve the use of foreign proteins that can stimulate both the innate and acquired immune response. In contrast, plasmid DNA can be delivered without carrier proteins and is non-immunogenic. Plasmid gene delivery can be enhanced by the use of physical methods that aid the passage of the plasmid through the cell membrane. Electroporation and microbubble-enhanced ultrasound are two of the most effective physical delivery methods and these can be applied to a range of different cell types in vitro and a broad range of tissues in vivo. Both techniques also have the advantage that, unlike viral vectors, they can be used to target specific tissues with systemic delivery. Although electroporation is often the more efficient of the two, microbubble-enhanced ultrasound causes less damage and is less invasive. This review provides an introduction to the methodology and summarises the range of cells and tissues that have been genetically modified using these techniques.


Plasmid DNA Physical methods Gene transfer Gene therapy Microbubbles Skeletal muscle 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, Division of Neuroscience and Mental HealthImperial College LondonLondonUK

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