Author(s): Ren W, Beebe SJ
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Abstract Stimuli directed towards activation of apoptosis mechanisms are an attractive approach to eliminate evasion of apoptosis, a ubiquitous cancer hallmark. In these in vitro studies, kinetics and electric field thresholds for several apoptosis characteristics are defined in E4 squamous carcinoma cells (SCC) exposed to ten 300 ns pulses with increasing electric fields. Cell death was >95\% at the highest electric field and coincident with phosphatidylserine externalization, caspase and calpain activation in the presence and absence of cytochrome c release, decreases in Bid and mitochondria membrane potential (Δψm) without apparent changes reactive oxygen species levels or in Bcl2 and Bclxl levels. Bid cleavage was caspase-dependent (55-60\%) and calcium-dependent (40-45\%). Intracellular calcium as an intrinsic mechanism and extracellular calcium as an extrinsic mechanism were responsible for about 30 and 70\% of calcium dependence for Bid cleavage, respectively. The results reveal electric field-mediated cell death induction and progression, activating pro-apoptotic-like mechanisms and affecting plasma membrane and intracellular functions, primarily through extrinsic-like pathways with smaller contributions from intrinsic-like pathways. Nanosecond second pulsed electric fields trigger heterogeneous cell death mechanisms in E4 SCC populations to delete them, with caspase-associated cell death as a predominant, but not an unaccompanied event.
This article was published in Apoptosis
and referenced in Journal of Nanomedicine & Biotherapeutic Discovery