Electroporation MOA (Mechanism of Action)

Electroporation MOA – Cellular level. The inside of the cell (cytoplasm) is rich in ions and highly conductive (at least for animal cells), the outer medium is also highly conductive (both in vitro and in vivo). However, the plasma membrane, which insulates the inside of the cell from the outside, is non-conductive. When an electric field is applied, the charges inside and outside the cell will be displaced and produce transmembrane potential difference leading to ion cross-membrane movement.

Cell Electroporation is a term describing a theory and a process of increased cell permeability (cell electroporation) to otherwise low permeant or non-permeant molecules (all those molecules, usually hydrophilic and of relatively larger size, that do not diffuse across the plasma membrane and for which there arc no active transporters at the plasma membrane).

Cell electroporation is enabled by generation of electric arc (temporary electric field) and transmembrane voltage difference, resulting in large hydrophobic pores. These pores (electropores) then become hydrophilic by a rotation of the lipids at the limits between the lipid bilayer and the aqueous medium that tries to fill the hydrophobic “pore”. Using electric field to deliver molecules inside the cell is a process also known as electropermeabilization. Nucleofection is another term for electroporation method with focus on nuclear transfer of the DNA.

Electroporation theory was first described Dr. Neumann, in a paper that was published in 1982 and reported the first transfer of genes in living cells by means of electric pulses.

It is important lo know that the transfer of DNA is limited lo the cells located between electrodes (in vitro) or tissue volumes (in vivo) that are locally exposed to electric fields of sufficient field strength. However, field strength must not be excessive, because excessive electropermeabilization causes irreversible changes in the cell membrane and. consequently, the death of the target cells.