Electroporation of a single cell in a microchannel was studied. The effects of electrical (e.g., strength of the electric pulse) and geometrical (e.g., microchannel height, electrode size and position) parameters on cell membrane permeabilization were investigated. The electrodes were assumed to be embedded in the walls of the microchannel; the cell was suspended between these two electrodes. By keeping the electric pulse constant, increasing the microchannel height reduces the number and the radius of the biggest nanopores, as well as the electroporated area of the cell membrane. If the width of the electrodes is bigger than the cell diameter, the transmembrane potential will be centralized and have a sinusoidal distribution around the cell if nanopores are not generated. As the width of the electrode decreases and becomes smaller than the cell diameter, the local transmembrane potential decreases; in the nonelectroporative area, the transmembrane potential distribution deviates from the sinusoidal behavior; the induced transmembrane potential also concentrates around the poles of the cell membrane (the nearest points of the cell membrane to the electrodes). During cell membrane permeabilization, the biggest nanopores are initially created at the poles and then the nanopore population expands toward the equator. The number of the created nanopores reaches its maximal value within a few microseconds; further presence of the electric pulse may not influence the number and location of the created nanopores anymore but will develop the generated nanopores. Strengthening the electric pulse intensifies the size and number of the created nanopores as well as the electroporated area on the cell membrane.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 6, 2012
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