In vitro investigation of ultrasound-induced oxidative stress on human lens epithelial cells

Patrick Rwei, Cihun Siyong Alex Gong, Li Jyuan Luo, Meng Bo Lin, Jui Yang Lai*, Hao Li Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

18 Scopus citations


The effect of ultrasound exposure on human lens epithelial cells (HLE-B3) was investigated in vitro, specifically on the generation of oxidative stress upon ultrasound application using various clinically-relevant settings. In addition to ultrasound-induced heat effects, oxidative stress has been recently proposed as one of the main mechanisms for ultrasound-induced effects on human cells. In this work, the levels of biocompatibility and generation of oxidative stress by exposure of ultrasound to HLE-B3 were evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively by the MTT assay, Live/Dead assay, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and intracellular calcium level. Oxidative stress induction is traditionally achieved through administrations of H2O2 and thus the administration of H2O2 was used as the positive control group for comparison herein. Concerning the administrations of H2O2 are considered invasive and may potentially have side effects, ultrasound as physical stimulation could be a safer and non-invasive method to induce similar oxidative stress environments. The effect of ultrasound on cell viability and induction of oxidative stress increases with ultrasound intensity. The result reveals that the continuous ultrasound has a positive impact on the oxidative stress levels but does negatively on the cell viability, as compared to the pulsed ultrasound. Furthermore, our work demonstrates that the exposure of 58 kPa continuous ultrasound without microbubbles can maintain acceptable cell viability and produce oxidative stress effects similar to the traditional administrations of H2O2. In summary, exposure of ultrasound can generate oxidative stress comparable to traditional administrations of H2O2. The effect of generating oxidative stress is adjustable through ultrasound parameters, including the pulsed or continuous wave, the intensity of ultrasound and addition of microbubbles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-960
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - 22 01 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Calcium ion
  • HLE-B3
  • Microbubble
  • Oxidative stress
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Ultrasound


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