Numerical calculations of single-cell electroporation with an electrolyte-filled capillary
Journal article, 2007
An electric field is focused on one cell in single-cell electroporation. This enables selective electroporation treatment of the targeted cell without affecting its neighbors. While factors that lead to membrane permeation are the same as in bulk electroporation, quantitative description of the single-cell experiments is more complicated. This is due to the fact that the potential distribution cannot be solved analytically. We present single-cell electroporation with an electrolyte-filled capillary modeled with a finite element method. Potential is calculated in the capillary, the solution surrounding the cell, and the cell. The model enables calculation of the transmembrane potential and the fraction of the cell membrane that is above the critical electroporation potential. Electroporation at several cell-to-tip distances of human lung carcinoma cells (A549) stained with ThioGlo-1 demonstrated membrane permeation at distances shorter than; 7.0 mm. This agrees well with the model's prediction that a critical transmembrane potential of 250 mV is achieved when the capillary is; 6.5 mm or closer to the cell. Simulations predict that at short cell-to-tip distances, the transmembrane potential increases significantly while the total area of the cell above the critical potential increases only moderately.