Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 748-757

First online:

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

  • Sameer KalghatgiAffiliated withElectrical and Computer Engineering, Drexel University
  • , Gary FriedmanAffiliated withElectrical and Computer Engineering, Drexel University
  • , Alexander FridmanAffiliated withMechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Drexel University
  • , Alisa Morss ClyneAffiliated withMechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Drexel UniversitySchool of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems, Drexel University Email author 

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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.


Angiogenesis Plasma medicine Reactive oxygen species Apoptosis Wound healing