Ultrashort electric pulse induced changes in cellular dielectric properties

Allen L. Garner, George Chen, Nianyong Chen, Viswanadham Sridhara, Juergen F. Kolb, R. James Swanson, Stephen J. Beebe, Ravindra P. Joshi, Karl H. Schoenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The interaction of nanosecond duration pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) with biological cells, and the models describing this behavior, depend critically on the electrical properties of the cells being pulsed. Here, we used time domain dielectric spectroscopy to measure the dielectric properties of Jurkat cells, a malignant human T-cell line, before and after exposure to five 10 ns, 150 kV/cm electrical pulses. The cytoplasm and nucleoplasm conductivities decreased dramatically following pulsing, corresponding to previously observed rises in cell suspension conductivity. This suggests that electropermeabilization occurred, resulting in ion transport from the cell's interior to the exterior. A delayed decrease in cell membrane conductivity after the nsPEFs possibly suggests long-term ion channel damage or use dependence due to repeated membrane charging and discharging. This data could be used in models describing the phenomena at work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 12 2007


  • Dielectric spectroscopy
  • Electroporation
  • Intracellular manipulation
  • Nanosecond pulsed electric fields
  • Permeabilization
  • Plasma membrane
  • Time domain
  • Ultrashort pulses


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