Increasing attention has been paid to technology used for the delivery of genetic materials into cells for gene therapy and the generation of genetically engineered cells. So far, viral vectors have been mainly used because of their inherently high transfection efficiency of gene. However, there are some problems to be resolved for the clinical applications, such as the pathogenicity and immunogenicity of viral vectors themselves. Therefore, many research trials with non-viral vectors have been performed to enhance their efficiency to a level comparable to the viral vector. Two directions of these trials exist: material improvement of non-viral vectors and their combination with various external physical stimuli. This paper reviews the latter research trials, with special attention paid to the enhancement of gene expression by ultrasound (US). The expression level of plasmid DNA by various cationized polymers and liposomes is promoted by US irradiation in vitro as well as in vivo. This US-enhanced expression of plasmid DNA will be discussed to emphasize the technical feasibility of US in gene therapy and biotechnology.
Keywords: plasmid dna, ultrasound, gene expression enhancement, in vitro and in vivo transfection, cavitation
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