Recent Trend of Ultrasound-Mediated Nanoparticle Delivery for Brain Imaging and Treatment

Seonghoon Jo, In Cheol Sun, Cheol Hee Ahn, Sangmin Lee, Kwangmeyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In view of the fact that the blood-brain barrier (BBB) prevents the transport of imaging probes and therapeutic agents to the brain and thus hinders the diagnosis and treatment of brain-related disorders, methods of circumventing this problem (e.g., ultrasound-mediated nanoparticle delivery) have drawn much attention. Among the related techniques, focused ultrasound (FUS) is a favorite means of enhancing drug delivery via transient BBB opening. Photoacoustic brain imaging relies on the conversion of light into heat and the detection of ultrasound signals from contrast agents, offering the benefits of high resolution and large penetration depth. The extensive versatility and adjustable physicochemical properties of nanoparticles make them promising therapeutic agents and imaging probes, allowing for successful brain imaging and treatment through the combined action of ultrasound and nanoparticulate agents. FUS-induced BBB opening enables nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems to efficiently access the brain. Moreover, photoacoustic brain imaging using nanoparticle-based contrast agents effectively visualizes brain morphologies or diseases. Herein, we review the progress in the simultaneous use of nanoparticles and ultrasound in brain research, revealing the potential of ultrasound-mediated nanoparticle delivery for the effective diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology of Korea University, Intramural Research Program (2E31621), and Medical Intelligence for Digitally Assisted Surgery (2E31571) of Korea Institute of Science and Technology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society.


  • blood-brain barrier
  • brain
  • focused ultrasound
  • nanoparticles
  • photoacoustic imaging


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