Simulations of transient membrane behavior in cells subjected to a high-intensity ultrashort electric pulse

Q. Hu, S. Viswanadham, R. P. Joshi, K. H. Schoenbach, S. J. Beebe, P. F. Blackmore

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Abstract

A molecular dynamics (MD) scheme is combined with a distributed circuit model for a self-consistent analysis of the transient membrane response for cells subjected to an ultrashort (nanosecond) high-intensity (∼0.01-V/nm spatially averaged field) voltage pulse. The dynamical, stochastic, many-body aspects are treated at the molecular level by resorting to a course-grained representation of the membrane lipid molecules. Coupling the Smoluchowski equation to the distributed electrical model for current flow provides the timedependent transmembrane fields for the MD simulations. A good match between the simulation results and available experimental data is obtained. Predictions include pore formation times of about 5-6 ns. It is also shown that the pore formation process would tend to begin from the anodic side of an electrically stressed membrane. Furthermore, the present simulations demonstrate that ions could facilitate pore formation. This could be of practical importance and have direct relevance to the recent observations of calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum in cells subjected to such ultrashort, high-intensity pulses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031914
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

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