Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 748–757

Endothelial Cell Proliferation is Enhanced by Low Dose Non-Thermal Plasma Through Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 Release


  • Sameer Kalghatgi
    • Electrical and Computer EngineeringDrexel University
  • Gary Friedman
    • Electrical and Computer EngineeringDrexel University
  • Alexander Fridman
    • Mechanical Engineering and MechanicsDrexel University
    • Mechanical Engineering and MechanicsDrexel University
    • School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health SystemsDrexel University

DOI: 10.1007/s10439-009-9868-x

Cite this article as:
Kalghatgi, S., Friedman, G., Fridman, A. et al. Ann Biomed Eng (2010) 38: 748. doi:10.1007/s10439-009-9868-x


Non-thermal dielectric barrier discharge plasma is being developed for a wide range of medical applications, including wound healing, blood coagulation, and malignant cell apoptosis. However, the effect of non-thermal plasma on the vasculature is unclear. Blood vessels are affected during plasma treatment of many tissues and may be an important potential target for clinical plasma therapy. Porcine aortic endothelial cells were treated in vitro with a custom non-thermal plasma device. Low dose plasma (up to 30 s or 4 J cm−2) was relatively non-toxic to endothelial cells while treatment at longer exposures (60 s and higher or 8 J cm−2) led to cell death. Endothelial cells treated with plasma for 30 s demonstrated twice as much proliferation as untreated cells five days after plasma treatment. Endothelial cell release of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) peaked 3 h after plasma treatment. The plasma proliferative effect was abrogated by an FGF2 neutralizing antibody, and FGF2 release was blocked by reactive oxygen species scavengers. These data suggest that low dose non-thermal plasma enhances endothelial cell proliferation due to reactive oxygen species mediated FGF2 release. Plasma may be a novel therapy for dose-dependent promotion or inhibition of endothelial cell mediated angiogenesis.


AngiogenesisPlasma medicineReactive oxygen speciesApoptosisWound healing

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© Biomedical Engineering Society 2009