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Archive » 2008 » 3 » | Archive » Medical field » Fields » Biophysics »

The Effects of High-Voltage Nanosecond Electrical Pulses on Cells and Tissues

 
Abstract:

This post is also available in: enEnglish slSlovenščina (Slovenian)

High-voltage, nanosecond electric pulses (of a few to a hundred nanoseconds duration and electric field strength of a few ten kV/cm) are generated by a Blumlein generator. Such pulses induce sufficiently high voltage across intracellular membranes to cause pore formation in them. The effects of these pulses on cell organelles exceed those on the plasma membrane. High-voltage nanosecond pulses affect cells in various ways: by porating intracellular granu­les in human eosinophils, releasing calcium from intracellular stores (endoplasmic reticulum), externalizing phosphatidylserine, releasing cytochrome c from the mitochondria into the cyto­plasm, damaging DNA, and sometimes even leading to programmed cell death, called apoptosis. Because nanosecond pulses trigger apoptosis of tumor cells both ex vivo and in vivo, they are investigated as a promising new therapy for skin tumors. Classical electroporation using lon­ger pulses (micro to milliseconds) with lower electric field (a few hundred V/cm) is more efficient in gene transfection when combined with high-voltage, nanosecond electric pulses. Nanosecond high-voltage pulses, although still in the phase of early development and research, are becoming a promising new tool in biomedicine. They could be used for intracellular mani­pulation and cell function research, for studying the mechanisms of apoptosis, as well as for cancer treatment, gene transfection, wound healing, and sterilization.

Authors:
Batista Napotnik Tina, Reberšek Matej, Kotnik Tadej, et al.

Keywords:
electroporation, cell membrane permeability, apoptosis, transfection

Cite as:
Med Razgl. 2008; 47: 271–81.

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