An improved electroporation model is used to address membrane irreversibility under ultrashort electric pulse conditions. It is shown that membranes can survive a strong electric pulse and recover provided the pore distribution has a relatively large spread. If, however, the population consists predominantly of larger radii pores, then irreversibility can result. Physically, such a distribution could arise if pores at adjacent sites coalesce. The requirement of close proximity among the pore sites is more easily satisfied in smaller organelles than in outer cell membranes. Model predictions are in keeping with recent observations of cell damage to intracellular organelles (e.g., mitochondria), without irreversible shock at the outer membranes, by a nanosecond, high-intensity electric pulse. This mechanism also explains the greater damage from multiple electric shocks.
|Number of pages
|Physical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
|Published - Nov 11 2002