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A brief overview of electroporation pulse strength-duration space: a region where additional intracellular effects are expected
J. C. Weaver, K. C. Smith, A. T. Esser, R. S. Son, T. R. Gowrishankar
Bioelectrochemistry 87:236-43. 2012.
Electroporation (EP) of outer cell membranes is widely used in research, biotechnology and medicine. Now intracellular effects by organelle EP are of growing interest, mainly due to nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEF). For perspective, here we provide an approximate overview of EP pulse strength-duration space. This overview locates approximately some known effects and applications in strength-duration space, and includes a region where additional intracellular EP effects are expected. A feature of intracellular EP is direct, electrical redistribution of endogenous biochemicals among cellular compartments. For example, intracellular EP may initiate a multistep process for apoptosis. In this hypothesis, initial EP pulses release calcium from the endoplasmic reticulum, followed by calcium redistribution within the cytoplasm. With further EP pulses calcium penetrates mitochondrial membranes and causes changes that trigger release of cytochrome c and other death molecules. Apoptosis may therefore occur even in the presence of apoptotic inhibitors, using pulses that are smaller, but longer, than nsPEF.