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Emergence of a large pore subpopulation during electroporation pulses
Kyle C. Smith, Reuben S. Son, Thiruvallur R. Gowrishankar, James C. Weaver
Bioelectrochem. 100:3-10. 2014.
Electroporation increases ionic and molecular transport through cell membranes by creating transient aqueous pores. These pores cannot be directly observed experimentally, but cell system modeling with dynamic electroporation predicts pore populations that produce cellular responses consistent with experiments. We show a cell system model's response that illustrates the life cycle of a pore population in response to a widely used 1 kV/cm, 100 us trapezoidal pulse. Rapid pore creation occurs early in the pulse, followed by the gradual emergence of a subpopulation of large pores reaching ~30 nm radius. After the pulse, pores rapidly contract to form a single thermally broadened distribution of small pores (~1 nm radius) that slowly decays. We also show the response of the same model to pulses of 100 ns to 1 ms duration, each with an applied field strength adjusted such that a total of 10,000±100 pores are created. As pulse duration is increased, the pore size distributions vary dramatically and a distinct subpopulation of large pores emerges for pulses of microsecond and longer duration. This subpopulation of transient large pores is relevant to understanding rapid transport of macromolecules into and out of cells during a pulse.