Determination of the Impact of High-Intensity Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on the Release of Damage-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Sep 27;24(19):14607. doi: 10.3390/ijms241914607.


High-Intensity Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (HI-PEMF) treatment is an emerging noninvasive and contactless alternative to conventional electroporation, since the electric field inside the tissue is induced remotely by an externally applied pulsed magnetic field. Recently, HI-PEMF has been successfully used in the transfer of plasmid DNA and siRNA in vivo, with no or minimal infiltration of immune cells. In addition to gene electrotransfer, treatment with HI-PEMF has also shown potential for electrochemotherapy, where activation of the immune response contributes to the treatment outcome. The immune response can be triggered by immunogenic cell death that is characterized by the release of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) from damaged or/and dying cells. In this study, the release of the best-known DAMP molecules, i.e., adenosine triphosphate (ATP), calreticulin and high mobility group box 1 protein (HMBG1), after HI-PEMF treatment was investigated in vitro on three different cell lines of different tissue origin and compared with conventional electroporation treatment parameters. We have shown that HI-PEMF by itself does not cause the release of HMGB1 or calreticulin, whereas the release of ATP was detected immediately after HI-PEMF treatment. Our results indicate that HI-PEMF treatment causes no to minimal release of DAMP molecules, which results in minimal/limited activation of the immune response.

Keywords: ATP; DAMP; HI-PEMF; HMGB1; calreticulin; electromagnetic field; immune response.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Alarmins*
  • Calreticulin
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Electroporation / methods


  • Alarmins
  • Calreticulin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate