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J Control Release. 2012 Jun 28;160(3):570-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.04.006. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Low-frequency ac electroporation shows strong frequency dependence and yields comparable transfection results to dc electroporation.

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Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Conventional electroporation has been conducted by employing short direct current (dc) pulses for delivery of macromolecules such as DNA into cells. The use of alternating current (ac) field for electroporation has mostly been explored in the frequency range of 10kHz-1MHz. Based on Schwan equation, it was thought that with low ac frequencies (10Hz-10kHz), the transmembrane potential does not vary with the frequency. In this report, we utilized a flow-through electroporation technique that employed continuous 10Hz-10kHz ac field (based on either sine waves or square waves) for electroporation of cells with defined duration and intensity. Our results reveal that electropermeabilization becomes weaker with increased frequency in this range. In contrast, transfection efficiency with DNA reaches its maximum at medium frequencies (100-1000Hz) in the range. We postulate that the relationship between the transfection efficiency and the ac frequency is determined by combined effects from electrophoretic movement of DNA in the ac field, dependence of the DNA/membrane interaction on the ac frequency, and variation of transfection under different electropermeabilization intensities. The fact that ac electroporation in this frequency range yields high efficiency for transfection (up to ~71% for Chinese hamster ovary cells) and permeabilization suggests its potential for gene delivery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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