Electric fields within cells as a function of membrane resistivity--a model study.
Externally applied electric fields play an important role in many therapeutic modalities, but the fields they produce inside cells remain largely unknown. This study makes use of a three-dimensional model to determine the electric field that exists in the intracellular domain of a 10-microm spherical cell exposed to an applied field of 100 V/cm. The transmembrane potential resulting from the applied field was also determined and its change was compared to those of the intracellular field. The intracellular field increased as the membrane resistance decreased over a wide range of values. The results showed that the intracellular electric field was about 1.1 mV/cm for Rm of 10,000 omega x cm2, increasing to about 111 mV/cm as Rm decreased to 100 omega x cm2. Over this range of Rm the transmembrane potential was nearly constant. The transmembrane potential declined only as Rm decreased below 1 omega x cm2. The simulation results suggest that intracellular electric field depends on Rm in its physiologic range, and may not be negligible in understanding some mechanisms of electric field-mediated therapies.
Mossop, BJ; Barr, RC; Zaharoff, DA; Yuan, F
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