Applying sufficiently strong pulsed electric fields to a cell can permeabilize the membrane and subsequently affect its dielectric properties. In this study, we employ a microfluidic dielectrophoresis cytometry technique to simultaneously electroporate and measure the time-dependent dielectric response of single Chinese hamster ovary cells. Using experimental measurements along with numerical simulations, we present quantitative results for the changes in the cytoplasm conductivity of single cells within seconds after exposure to 100 μs duration pulsed electric fields with various intensities. It is shown that, for electroporation in a medium with conductivity lower than that of the cell's cytoplasm, the internal conductivity of the cell decreases after the electroporation on a time scale of seconds and stronger pulses cause a larger and more rapid decrease. We also observe that, after the electroporation, the cell's internal conductivity is constrained to a threshold. This implies that the cell prevents some of the ions in its cytoplasm from diffusing through the created pores to the external medium. The temporal change in the dielectric response of each individual cell is continuously monitored over minutes after exposure to pulsed electric fields. A time constant associated with the cell's internal conductivity change is observed, which ranges from seconds to tens of seconds depending on the applied pulse intensity. This experimental observation supports the results of numerical models reported in the literature.
Dielectrophoresis study of temporal change in internal conductivity of single CHO cells after electroporation by pulsed electric fields
E. Salimi, K. Braasch, M. Butler, D. J. Thomson, G. E. Bridges; Dielectrophoresis study of temporal change in internal conductivity of single CHO cells after electroporation by pulsed electric fields. Biomicrofluidics 1 January 2017; 11 (1): 014111. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4975978
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