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Biophys J. Sep 1999; 77(3): 1225–1233.
PMCID: PMC1300414

Modeling electroporation in a single cell. II. Effects Of ionic concentrations.


This study expands a previously developed model of a single cell electroporated by an external electric field by explicitly accounting for the ionic composition of the electroporation current. The previous model with non-specific electroporation current predicts that both the transmembrane potential V(m) and the pore density N are symmetric about the equator, with the same values at either end of the cell. The new, ion-specific case predicts that V(m) is symmetric and almost identical to the profile from the non-specific case, but N has a profound asymmetry with the pore density at the hyperpolarized end of the cell twice the value at the depolarized end. These modeling results agree with the experimentally observed preferential uptake of marker molecules at the hyperpolarized end of the cell as reported in the literature. This study also investigates the changes in intracellular ionic concentrations induced around an electroporated single cell. For all ion species, the concentrations near the membrane vary significantly, which may explain the electrical disturbances observed experimentally after large electric shocks are delivered to excitable cells and tissues.

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Selected References

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