Ultrasound combined with microbubbles enhances the renoprotective effects of methylprednisolone in rats with adriamycin-induced nephropathy

Shuting Ren, Ruoyan Si, Pengfei Sun, Tieqiao Wu, Aozhi Dai, Lina Chen, Wenbao Zhao, Tuo Han, Xin Zhang, Zhonglin Chai

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of ultrasound combined with microbbules (SonoVueTM) on the potency of methylprednisolone in attenuating the renal injury induced by adriamycin in rats. Animal model was established by two intravenous injections of 4 mg/kg adriamycin with a 2-week interval in rats. One week later, the adriamycin injected rats were randomly divided into 7 groups, receiving various treatments daily for 2 weeks. Two doses of methylprednisolone (20 or 40 mg/kg) were administrated alone or 20 mg/kg methylprednisolone and 100 µL SonoVueTM microbbules (1–5 × 108 bubbles/mL; mean diameter of bubbles: 2.5 µm) was co-administrated by intravenous injections from the tail vein. The ultrasound was applied at a frequency of 0.8 MHz and a spatial average temporal average intensity of 2.79 W/cm2 for 5 min at a 50% duty cycle (1 s on 1 s off) on the back skin of the anatomic position of the kidney in rats of two groups combined with ultrasound. Renal injury were analyzed using immunohistochemical staining, real-time PCR, light and transmission electron microcopies. The kidney function related biochemical indexes were measured by automatic biochemistry analyzer. The results showed that adriamycin induced a typical renal injury and 40 mg/kg methylprednisolone injection significantly ameliorated the abnormality of key parameters such as proteinuria, renal mRNA and protein expression levels of nephrin, collagens III and IV as well as podocyte impairment, glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial injury indexes. However, a sub-dose of methylprednisolone at 20 mg/kg was ineffective when administered intravenously, but its potency at this dosage was enhanced by co-administration with 100 µL SonoVueTM microbubbles plus ultrasound irradiation. In conclusion, ultrasound combined with microbubbles can significantly increase local renal drug delivery leading to enhanced therapeutic effect of low dose methylprednisolone in ameliorating adriamycin-induced nephropathy in rats.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105714
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Drug delivery
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Microbubble
  • Nephropathy
  • Proteinuria
  • Ultrasound

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