Irreversible Electroporation

TitleIrreversible Electroporation
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsIvorra, A
EditorRubinsky, B
Book TitleIrreversible Electroporation
Series TitleSeries in Biomedical Engineering
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
CityBerlin, Heidelberg
ISBN Number978-3-642-05419-8

Electroporation is the phenomenon in which cell membrane permeability to ions and macromolecules is increased by exposing the cell to short (microsecond to millisecond) high electric field pulses. In living tissues, such permeabilization boost can be used in order to enhance the penetration of drugs (electrochemotherapy) or DNA plasmids (electrogenetherapy) or to destroy undesirable cells (irreversible electroporation). The main purpose of the present chapter is to provide an overview of the electrical concepts related to electroporation for those not familiar with electromagnetism. It is explained that electroporation is a dynamic phenomenon that depends on the local transmembrane voltage and it is shown how a voltage difference applied though a pair of electrodes generates an electric field which in turn induces the required transmembrane voltage for electroporation to occur. Quite exhaustive details are given on how electroporation changes the passive electrical properties of living tissues. Furthermore, some remarks are given about the effects of electroporation on other bioelectric phenomena such as cardiac arrhythmias.