An equivalent circuit model for localized electroporation on porous substrates

Biosens Bioelectron. 2022 Mar 1;199:113862. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2021.113862. Epub 2021 Dec 10.


In vitro intracellular delivery is a fundamental challenge with no widely adopted methods capable of both delivering to millions of cells and controlling that delivery to a high degree of accuracy. One promising method is porous substrate electroporation (PSEP), where cells are cultured on porous substrates and electric fields are used to permeabilize discrete portions of the cell membrane for delivery. A major obstacle to the widespread use of PSEP is a poor understanding of the various impedances that constitute the system, including the impedances of the porous substrate and the cell monolayer, and how these impedances are influenced by experimental parameters. In response, we used impedance measurements to develop an equivalent circuit model that closely mimics the behavior of each of the main components of the PSEP system. This circuit model reveals for the first time the distribution of voltage across the electrode-electrolyte interface impedances, the channels of the porous substrate, the cell monolayer, and the transmembrane potential during PSEP. We applied sample waveforms through our model to understand how waveforms can be improved for future studies. Our model was validated from intracellular delivery of protein using PSEP.

Keywords: Circuit model; Electroporation; Localized cell electroporation; Porous substrate.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electrodes
  • Electroporation
  • Porosity