Plasma membrane charging of Jurkat cells by nanosecond pulsed electric fields

Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA.
Biophysics of Structure and Mechanism (Impact Factor: 2.22). 05/2011; 40(8):947-57. DOI: 10.1007/s00249-011-0710-7
Source: PubMed


The initial effect of nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) on cells is a change of charge distributions along membranes. This first response is observed as a sudden shift in the plasma transmembrane potential that is faster than can be attributed to any physiological event. These immediate, yet transient, effects are only measurable if the diagnostic is faster than the exposure, i.e., on a nanosecond time scale. In this study, we monitored changes in the plasma transmembrane potential of Jurkat cells exposed to nsPEFs of 60 ns and amplitudes from 5 to 90 kV/cm with a temporal resolution of 5 ns by means of the fast voltage-sensitive dye Annine-6. The measurements suggest the contribution of both dipole effects and asymmetric conduction currents across opposite sides of the cell to the charging. With the application of higher field strengths the membrane charges until a threshold voltage value of 1.4-1.6 V is attained at the anodic pole. This indicates when the ion exchange rates exceed charging currents, thus providing strong evidence for pore formation. Prior to reaching this threshold, the time for the charging of the membrane by conductive currents is qualitatively in agreement with accepted models of membrane charging, which predict longer charging times for lower field strengths. The comparison of the data with previous studies suggests that the sub-physiological induced ionic imbalances may trigger other intracellular signaling events leading to dramatic outcomes, such as apoptosis.

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    ABSTRACT: Intense nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) interact with cellular membranes and intracellular structures. Investigating how cells respond to nanosecond pulses is essential for a) development of biomedical applications of nsPEFs, including cancer therapy, and b) better understanding of the mechanisms underlying such bioelectrical effects. In this work, we explored relatively mild exposure conditions to provide insight into weak, reversible effects, laying a foundation for a better understanding of the interaction mechanisms and kinetics underlying nsPEF bio-effects. In particular, we report changes in the nucleus of Jurkat cells (human lymphoblastoid T cells) exposed to single pulses of 60 ns duration and 1.0, 1.5 and 2.5 MV/m amplitudes, which do not affect cell growth and viability. A dose-dependent reduction in alkaline comet-assayed DNA migration is observed immediately after nsPEF exposure, accompanied by permeabilization of the plasma membrane (YO-PRO-1 uptake). Comet assay profiles return to normal within 60 minutes after pulse delivery at the highest pulse amplitude tested, indicating that our exposure protocol affects the nucleus, modifying DNA electrophoretic migration patterns.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: We describe a new phenomenon of anodotropic pseudopod-like blebbing in U937 cells stimulated by nanosecond pulsed electric field (nsPEF). In contrast to "regular," round-shaped blebs, which are often seen in response to cell damage, pseudopod-like blebs (PLBs) formed as longitudinal membrane protrusions toward anode. PLB length could exceed the cell diameter in 2 min of exposure to 60-ns, 10-kV/cm pulses delivered at 10-20 Hz. Both PLBs and round-shaped nsPEF-induced blebs could be efficiently inhibited by partial isosmotic replacement of bath NaCl for a larger solute (sucrose), thereby pointing to the colloid-osmotic water uptake as the principal driving force for bleb formation. In contrast to round-shaped blebs, PLBs retracted within several minutes after exposure. Cells treated with 1 nM of the actin polymerization blocker cytochalasin D were unable to form PLBs and instead produced stationary, spherical blebs with no elongation or retraction capacity. Live cell fluorescent actin tagging showed that during elongation actin promptly entered the PLB interior, forming bleb cortex and scaffold, which was not seen in stationary blebs. Overall, PLB formation was governed by both passive (physicochemical) effects of membrane permeabilization and active cytoskeleton assembly in the living cell. To a certain extent, PLB mimics the membrane extension in the process of cell migration and can be employed as a nonchemical model for studies of cytomechanics, membrane-cytoskeleton interaction and cell motility.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Journal of Membrane Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Starting from experimental data where plasma membrane permeabilization has been demonstrated in human lymphoblastoid Jurkat T-cells exposed to a single 60ns, 2.5 MV/m pulsed electric field, a 2D numerical model has been exploited in order to describe the dynamics of pore formation and induced transmembrane voltage. The adopted approach, employed here for the first time for nanosecond duration pulses, represents an useful tool to give insight into the involved physical phenomena and drive the experimental design in addressing mechanistic understanding and applications.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jun 2012
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