Effects of Electric Pulses on Cancer Cells: Apoptosis Induction and Decrease of Mitochondrial Transmembrane Potential
In order to investigate the effects of electric pulses on cancer cells, we carried out the experiments with exposing HepG2 and L02 to electric pulses (1 kV/cm, l00 micros, 1 Hz) for different lengths of time (8 s, 15 s, 30 s, 60 s). Annexin V-FITC Kit and Flow cytometry were used to study the apoptosis of treated cells. The results showed that the electric pulses of 1 kV/cm, l00 micros, 1 Hz for 8 s could not induce tumor cells apoptosis. Apoptosis was observed when tumor cells were stimulated for 15 s and longer, and the apoptosis percentage increased with the increase of stimulation time. Furthermore, tumor cells were more sensitive than normal cells in response to electrical pulses. Rhodamine 123 and Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope (LSCM) were used to make a real-time study of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (Deltapsim) when the tumor cells were exposed to electric pulses for 60 s. No significant change of Deltapsim was observed within 30 s stimulation. After that, the Deltapsim increased sharply and declined later, suggesting that the mitochondrial pathway may be one of the apoptosis mechanism induced by electric pulses.