Detachment and sonoporation of adherent HeLa-cells by shock wave induced cavitation

C.D. Ohl, Bernhard Wolfrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


The interaction of lithotripter-generated shock waves with adherent cells is investigated using high-speed optical techniques. We show that shock waves permeabilize adherent cells in vitro through the action of cavitation bubbles. The bubbles are formed in the trailing tensile pulse of a lithotripter-generated shock wave where the pressure drops below the vapor pressure. Upon collapse of cavitation bubbles, a strong flow field is generated which accounts for two effects: first, detachment of cells from the substrate; and second, the temporary opening of cell membranes followed by molecular uptake, a process called sonoporation. Comparison of observed cell detachment with results from a theoretical model considering peeling cell detachment by a wall jet-induced shear stress shows reasonable agreement.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et biophysica acta. General subjects
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • METIS-216922
  • Shock wave
  • IR-75028
  • Cell detachment
  • Cavitation
  • Sonoporation
  • Drug delivery

Cite this