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The good and the bad of cell membrane electroporation

Katja Balantič, Damijan Miklavčič, Igor Križaj, Peter Kramar


Electroporation is used to increase the permeability of the cell membrane through high-voltage electric pulses. Nowadays, it is widely used in different areas, such as medicine, biotechnology, and the food industry. Electroporation induces the formation of hydrophilic pores in the lipid bilayer of cell membranes, to allow the entry or exit of molecules that cannot otherwise cross this hydrophobic barrier. In this article, we critically review the basic principles of electroporation, along with the advantages and drawbacks of this method. We discuss the effects of electroporation on the key components of biological membranes, as well as the main applications of this procedure in medicine, such as electrochemotherapy, gene electrotransfer, and tissue ablation. Finally, we define the most relevant challenges of this promising area of research.


Electroporation; cell membrane; electrochemotherapy; gene electrotransfer; tissue ablation

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Copyright (c) 2021 Katja Balantič, Damijan Miklavčič, Igor Križaj, Peter Kramar

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