Simulation of Normal and Cancerous T-cell Membrane Electroporation

O. Henao[1], V. Gómez[1], I. De la Pava[1], J. Sánchez[1]
[1]Grupo Fisiología Celular y Aplicada, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia
Published in 2014

Electroporation is an increase of the cell membrane permeability due to the formation of aqueous pores in it when the cell is under the influence of an intense electric field [1][2]. The formation of such pores in the membrane can be used to enhance the uptake of chemotherapeutic drugs into the cell in a cancer treatment known as electrochemotherapy [3]. In some cases the direct experimental measurement of the different phenomena associated with membrane electroporation is not possible and the use of numerical simulations becomes necessary. In this paper we simulated normal and cancerous T-cell membrane electroporation using COMSOL Multiphysics® software to solve the set of coupled differential equations that describe electroporation [4][5]. The induced transmembrane voltage (ITV) and the pore formation density were obtained and analyzed (Figures 1-2). Our main results were higher pore formation in the cancerous T-cell, and an asymmetric pore density distribution with slightly larger values present on the hyperpolarized regions of the membrane (Figures 3-4).