Monitoring electropermeabilization in the plasma membrane of adherent mammalian cells

Paramita M Ghosh, C. R. Keese, I. Giaever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


When an electrical potential of order one volt is induced across a cell membrane for a fraction of a second, temporary breakdown of ordinary membrane functions may occur. One result of such a breakdown is that molecules normally excluded by the membrane can now enter the cells. This phenomenon, generally referred to as electropermeabilization, is known as electroporation when actual pores form in the membrane. This paper presents a unique approach to the measurement of pore formation and closure in anchored mammalian cells. The cells are cultured on small gold electrodes, and by constantly monitoring the impedance of the electrode with a low-amplitude AC signal, small changes in cell morphology, cell motion, and membrane resistance can be detected. Because the active electrode is small, the application of a few volts across the cell-covered electrode causes pore formation in the cell membrane. In addition, the heat transfer is very efficient, and the cells can be porated in their regular growth medium. By this method, the formation and resealing of pores due to applied electric fields can be followed in real time for anchorage-dependent cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1602-1609
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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