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31/12/2014 (Added to site)
Author(s): Henslee, B. E.; Morss, A.; Hu, X.; Lafyatis, G. P.; James Lee, L.

Cell-cell proximity effects in multi-cell electroporation

Journal: Biomicrofluidics, 8/5 (2014), 052002
DOI: 10.1063/1.4893918
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Abstract: We report a fundamental study of how the electropermeabilization of a cell is affected by nearby cells. Previous researchers studying electroporation of dense suspensions of cells have observed, both theoretically and experimentally, that such samples cannot be treated simply as collections of independent cells. However, the complexity of those systems makes quantitative modeling difficult. We studied the change in the minimum applied electric field, the threshold field, required to affect electropermeabilization of a cell due to the presence of a second cell. Experimentally, we used optical tweezers to accurately position two cells in a custom fluidic electroporation device and measured the threshold field for electropermeabilization. We also captured video of the process. In parallel, finite element simulations of the electrostatic potential distributions in our systems were generated using the 3-layer model and the contact resistance methods. Reasonably good agreement with measurements was found assuming a model in which changes in a cell's threshold field were predicted from the calculated changes in the maximum voltage across the cell's membrane induced by the presence of a second cell. The threshold field required to electroporate a cell is changed ∼5%-10% by a nearby, nearly touching second cell. Cells aligned parallel to the porating field shield one another. Those oriented perpendicular to the field enhance the applied field's effect. In addition, we found that the dynamics of the electropermeabilization process are important in explaining observations for even our simple two-cell system.



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