Cancelation Effect of Nanosecond Pulse Electric Fields on Cells In Vitro

  • Bennett Ibey
Living reference work entry


The effect of reversing the polarity or direction of the electric field during the application of nanosecond electric pulses (nsEPs) to cells has become a topic of great interest. This topic is highly relevant as it applies directly to clinical use of nsEP for cancer treatment and muscle stimulation. This chapter begins with a brief introduction describing previous observations made when applying single unipolar (UP) nsEP and longer micro- and millisecond duration bipolar (BP) pulses to mammalian cells. The next section offers an in-depth description of the methods and observed effects of BP nsEP exposure of single cells. The observed ineffectiveness of BP nsEP to generate membrane permeabilization at a similar rate to UP nsEP exposures is presented as well as a comparison of different pulse exposures and pulse shapes. The effectiveness of BP pulses to induce cell death will be discussed in the next section as on endpoint of interest in the field of bioelectrics. In agreement with single-cell observation, induction of death by BP pulses is reduced considerably compared to UP exposures in a variety of cell types. In the final section, the open questions related to BP exposures, present hypotheses, and potential technological utility of BP pulses are discussed. It is the intent of this chapter to present existing data related to BP nsEP and act as a catalyst for further theoretical and experimental exploration into the topic.


Nanoporation Bipolar Unipolar Nanosecond electric pulse Electroporation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bennett Ibey
    • 1
  1. 1.Bioeffects Division711 Human Performance Wing, Air Force Research LaboratoryFort Sam HoustonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Marie-Pierre Rols
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie StructuraleIPBS/CNRS UMR 5089 & University of ToulouseToulouseFrance

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