Low voltage pulses can induce apoptosis

Noriaki Matsuki, Takuji Ishikawa, Yousuke Imai, Takami Yamaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Electroporation is used for gene transfection, drug delivery, and cell fusion. While studies have shown that high voltage electroporation induces apoptosis in vitro, a strong electric field can lower cell survival rates. As there are no published reports which have examined apoptotic properties associate with low voltage electric charges, we demonstrated for the first time that consecutive low voltage pulses with a voltage lower than the membrane breakdown threshold of human cells can increase the membrane potential to the threshold required to induce electroporation. This led to apoptosis through caspase pathways. Moreover, necrotic cell damage was less than that caused by high voltage pulses. Therefore, low voltage electroporation can be a suitable anticancer method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sept 28


  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase
  • Electroporation
  • Low voltage pulse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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