Medical Oncology

, 34:24 | Cite as

Induction of apoptosis of liver cancer cells by nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs)

  • Ling He
  • Deyou Xiao
  • Jianguo Feng
  • Chenguo Yao
  • Liling TangEmail author
Original Paper


The application of nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) is a novel method to induce the death of cancer cells. NsPEFs could directly function on the cell membrane and activate the apoptosis pathways, then induce apoptosis in various cell lines. However, the nsPEFs-inducing-apoptosis action sites and the exact pathways are not clear now. In this study, nsPEFs were applied to the human liver cancer cells HepG2 with different parameters. By apoptosis assay, morphological observation, detecting the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨ m), intracellular calcium ion concentration ([Ca2+]i) and the expressions of key apoptosis factors, we demonstrated that nsPEFs could induce the morphology of cell apoptosis, the change in ΔΨ m, [Ca2+]i and the upregulation of some key apoptosis factors, which revealed the responses of liver cancer cells and indicated that cells may undergo apoptosis through the mitochondria-dependent pathway after nsPEFs were applied.


Cellular morphology Mitochondrial membrane potential Calcium Electric pulses HepG2 



This study was sponsored by Project No. 106112015CDJZR158804 supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

No human subjects or animals were used in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ling He
    • 1
  • Deyou Xiao
    • 1
  • Jianguo Feng
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chenguo Yao
    • 2
  • Liling Tang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biorheological Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, College of BioengineeringChongqing UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Power Transmission Equipment and System Security and New TechnologyChongqing UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyThe Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical UniversitySichuanChina

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