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Bioelectromagnetics. 2013 Feb;34(2):162-4. doi: 10.1002/bem.21754. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

Sodium current inhibition by nanosecond pulsed electric field (nsPEF)--fact or artifact?

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Department of Anatomy, Embryology and Physiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In two recent publications in Bioelectromagnetics it has been demonstrated that the voltage-gated sodium current (I(Na)) is inhibited in response to a nanosecond pulsed electric field (nsPEF). At the same time, there was an increase in a non-inactivating "leak" current (I(leak)), which was attributed to the formation of nanoelectropores or larger pores in the plasma membrane. We demonstrate that the increase in I(leak), in combination with a residual series resistance, leads to an error in the holding potential in the patch clamp experiments and an unanticipated inactivation of the sodium channels. We conclude that the observed inhibition of I(Na) may be largely, if not fully, artifactual.

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