Ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs), are capable of enhancing non‐invasive cytoplasmic molecular delivery in the presence of ultrasound. Collapse of UCAs may generate nano‐scale cavitation bubbles, resulting in the transient permeabilization of the cell membrane. In the present study, we investigated the interaction of a cavitation bubble‐induced shock wave with a cell membrane using acoustic theory and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. From the theory, we obtained the shock wave propagation distance from the center of a cavitation bubble that would induce membrane damage. The MD simulation determined the relationship between the uptake of water molecules into the lipid bilayer and the shock wave. The interaction of the shock wave induced a structural change of the bilayer and subsequently increased the fluidity of each molecule. These changes in the bilayer due to shock waves may be an important factor in the use of UCAs to produce the transient membrane permeability during sonoporation.

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