Apoptosis induction of human myeloid leukemic cells by ultrasound exposure

Hagit Ashush, Leon A. Rozenszajn, Michal Blass, Mira Barda-Saad, Damir Azimov, Judith Radnay, Dov Zipori, Uri Rosenschein

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186 Scopus citations


Therapeutic ultrasound (ULS) and the resulting cavitation process has been shown to induce irreversible cell damage. In this study, we wanted to further investigate the mechanism of ULS-induced cell death and to determine whether apoptosis is involved. High intensity focused pulsed ULS sonication at a frequency of 750 KHz was delivered to HL-60, K562, U937, and M1/2 leukemia cell line cultures. ULS exposure used with induction of transient cavitation in the focal area was delivered with an intensity level of 103.7 W/cm2 and 54.6 W/cm2 spatial-peak temporal-average intensity. As a control, ULS of lower intensity was delivered at 22.4 W/cm2 spatial-peak temporal- average intensity, presumably without generation of cavitation. Our results indicated that DNA damage induced by ULS cavitation did not involve generation of free radicals in the culture media. Morphological alterations observed in cells after exposure to ULS included: cell shrinkage, membrane blebbing, chromatin condensation, nuclear fragmentation, and apoptotic body formation. Apoptotic cells were evaluated by fluorescence microscopy and detected using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick- end labeling assay, which identifies DNA breaks, and by the leakage of phosphatidylserine from the inner to the outer side of the membrane layer of treated cells. Some bioeffects induced on sonicated HL-60 cells, such as inhibition of cell proliferation, DNA repair, and cell-dependent apoptosis, were found to be similar to those produced by γ-irradiation. Thus, much of the cell damage induced by therapeutic ULS in leukemia cells surviving ULS exposure appears to occur through an apoptotic mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1020
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2000


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