Cells exposed to nanosecond-pulsed electric fields (nsPEF) exhibit a wide variety of nonspecific effects, including blebbing, swelling, intracellular calcium bursts, apoptotic and necrotic cell death, formation of nanopores, and depletion of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-biphosphate (PIP2) to induce activation of the inositol trisphosphate/diacylglycerol pathway. While several studies have taken place in which multiple pulses were delivered to cells, the effect of pulse repetition rate (PRR) is not well understood. To better understand the effects of PRR, a laser scanning confocal microscope was used to observe CHO-K1 cells exposed to ten 600ns, 200V pulses at varying repetition rates (5Hz up to 500KHz) in the presence of either FM 1-43, YO-PRO-1, or Propidium Iodide (PI) fluorescent dyes, probes frequently used to indicate nanoporation or permeabilization of the plasma membrane. Dye uptake was monitored for 30 seconds after pulse application at a rate of 1 image/second. In addition, a single long pulse of equivalent energy (200V, 6 μs duration) was applied to test the hypothesis that very fast PRR will approximate the biological effects of a single long pulse of equal energy. Upon examination of the data, we found strong variation in the relationship between PRR and uptake in each of the three dyes. In particular, PI uptake showed little frequency dependence, FM 1-43 showed a strong inverse relationship between frequency and internal cell fluorescence, and YO-PRO-1 exhibited a “threshold” point of around 50 KHz, after which the inverse trend observed in FM 1-43 was seen to reverse itself. Further, a very high PRR of 500 KHz only approximated the biological effects of a single 6 μs pulse in cells stained with YO-PRO-1, suggesting that uptake of different dyes may proceed by different physical mechanisms.
Zachary A. Steelman, Gleb P. Tolstykh, Hope T. Beier, and Bennett L. Ibey, "High frequency application of nanosecond pulsed electric fields alters cellular membrane disruption and fluorescent dye uptake," Proc. SPIE 9706, Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXVII, 97060W (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 16, 2016; Published: 22 March 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218263.
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