Pulsed Electric Fields Targeted Cell Ablation: a new tool for scarless tissue regeneration research
Abstract: High voltage short pulsed electric fields permeabilize cell membrane. This increase of permeability is currently explained by the temporary appearance of aqueous pores in the cell membrane, a process called electroporation. When the pores seal and the cell survives the process is called reversible electroporation; when the cell dies the process is called irreversible electroporation. During the past four decades, multiple advances in the fundamental and experimental electroporation research led the appearance of several clinical applications of electroporation: electrochemotherapy, gene electrotherapy, tumor ablation and transdermal drug delivery. I will talk about the fundamental aspects and various applications of electroporation based technologies in medicine. I will introduce the current models of pore formation in cell membranes due to the application of external electric fields and discuss our new fundamental findings on the effect of cell membrane charge on electroporation threshold. In relation to applications, I will discuss our most recent results on using non-thermal pulsed electric fields for establishing a scarless skin wound healing model in rats. We show that pulsed electric fields ablated skin preserves the microvascular blood supply and extracellular matrix structure. A complete regeneration of epidermis, hair follicles, sebaceous glands and the dermal panniculus carnosus was observed two months after non-thermal pulsed electric fields ablation. These results suggest that pulsed electric fields may become a key tool for regenerative medicine allowing for scarless healing following efficient and controlled ablation of cellular tissue components.