Abstract Ultrasound effects on biological samples are gaining a growing interest concerning in particular, the intracellular delivery of drugs and genes in a safe and in a efficient way. Future progress in this field will require a better understanding of how ultrasound and acoustic cavitation affect the biological system properties. The morphological changes of cells due to ultrasound (US) exposure have been extensively studied, while little attention has been given to the cells structural changes. We have exposed two different cell lines to 1 MHz frequency ultrasound currently used in therapy, Jurkat T-lymphocytes and NIH-3T3 fibroblasts, both employed as models respectively in the apoptosis and in the gene therapy studies. The Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy was used as probe to reveal the structural changes in particular molecular groups belonging to the main biological systems. The genotoxic damage of cells exposed to ultrasound was ascertained by the Cytokinesis-Block Micronucleus (CBMN) assay. The FTIR spectroscopy results, combined with multivariate statistical analysis, regarding all cellular components (lipids, proteins, nucleic acids) of the two cell lines, show that Jurkat cells are more sensitive to therapeutic ultrasound in the lipid and protein regions, whereas the NIH-3T3 cells are more sensitive in the nucleic acids region; a meaningful genotoxic effect is present in both cell lines only for long sonication times while in the Jurkat cells also a significant cytotoxic effect is revealed for long times of exposure to ultrasound.