Mechanistic insights into the impact of Cold Atmospheric Pressure Plasma on human epithelial cell lines

Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 25;7:41163. doi: 10.1038/srep41163.


Compelling evidence suggests that Cold Atmospheric Pressure Plasma (CAPP) has potential as a new cancer therapy. However, knowledge about cellular signaling events and toxicity subsequent to plasma treatment is still poorly documented. The aim of this study was to focus on the interaction between 3 different types of plasma (He, He-O2, He-N2) and human epithelial cell lines to gain better insight into plasma-cell interaction. We provide evidence that reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) are inducing cell death by apoptosis and that the proteasome, a major intracellular proteolytic system which is important for tumor cell growth and survival, is a target of (He or He-N2) CAPP. However, RONS are not the only actors involved in cell death; electric field and charged particles could play a significant role especially for He-O2 CAPP. By differential label-free quantitative proteomic analysis we found that CAPP triggers antioxidant and cellular defense but is also affecting extracellular matrix in keratinocytes. Moreover, we found that malignant cells are more resistant to CAPP treatment than normal cells. Taken together, our findings provide insight into potential mechanisms of CAPP-induced proteasome inactivation and the cellular consequences of these events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Line
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Helium / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Plasma Gases / pharmacology*
  • Pressure
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / drug effects
  • Proteome / drug effects
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Plasma Gases
  • Proteome
  • Helium
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex