Cell swelling and blebbing has been commonly observed following nanosecond pulsed electric field (nsPEF) exposure. The hypothesized origin of these effects is nanoporation of the plasma membrane (PM) followed by transmembrane diffusion of extracellular fluid and disassembly of cortical actin structures. This investigation will provide evidence that shows passive movement of fluid into the cell through nanopores and increase of intracellular osmotic pressure are not solely responsible for this observed phenomena. We demonstrate that phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) depletion and hydrolysis are critical steps in the chain reaction leading to cellular blebbing and swelling. PIP2 is heavily involved in osmoregulation by modulation of ion channels and also serves as an intracellular membrane anchor to cortical actin and phospholipase C (PLC). Given the rather critical role that PIP2 depletion appears to play in the response of cells to nsPEF exposure, it remains unclear how its downstream effects and, specifically, ion channel regulation may contribute to cellular swelling, blebbing, and unknown mechanisms of the lasting “permeabilization” of the PM.
Tolstykh, G. P., Thompson, G. L., Beier, H. T., Steelman, Z. A., & Ibey, B. L. (2017). nsPEF-induced PIP2 depletion, PLC activity and actin cytoskeletal cortex remodeling are responsible for post-exposure cellular swelling and blebbing. Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports, 9, 36–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrep.2016.11.005