Modeling of Electroporation Induced by Pulsed Electric Fields in Irregularly Shaped Cells

Luciano Mescia, Michele A Chiapperino, Pietro Bia, Johan Gielis, Diego Caratelli
IEEE Transactions on Bio-medical Engineering 2018, 65 (2): 414-423
During the past decades, the poration of cell membrane induced by pulsed electric fields has been widely investigated. Since the basic mechanisms of this process have not yet been fully clarified, many research activities are focused on the development of suitable theoretical and numerical models. To this end, a nonlinear, nonlocal, dispersive, and space-time numerical algorithm has been developed and adopted to evaluate the transmembrane voltage and pore density along the perimeter of realistic irregularly shaped cells. The presented model is based on the Maxwell's equations and the asymptotic Smoluchowski's equation describing the pore dynamics. The dielectric dispersion of the media forming the cell has been modeled by using a general multirelaxation Debye-based formulation. The irregular shape of the cell is described by using the Gielis' superformula. Different test cases pertaining to red blood cells, muscular cells, cell in mitosis phase, and cancer-like cell have been investigated. For each type of cell, the influence of the relevant shape, the dielectric properties, and the external electric pulse characteristics on the electroporation process has been analyzed. The numerical results demonstrate that the proposed model is an efficient numerical tool to study the electroporation problem in arbitrary-shaped cells.

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