Role of Endocytosis Pathways in Electropermeablization of MCF7 Cells Using Low Voltage and High Frequency Electrochemotherapy

Document Type : Original Article


1 .Department of Medical Physics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 .Department of Medical Biotechnology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


The cell membrane is a major barrier for delivery of hydrophilic drugs and molecules into the cells. Although low voltage and high frequency electric fields (LVHF) are proposed to overcome the cell membrane barrier, the mechanism of membrane permeabilization is unclear. The aim of study is to investigate endocytosis pathways as a possible mechanism for enhancing uptake of bleomycin by LVHF.
Materials and Methods
In this experimental study, MCF-7 cells were exposed to bleomycin or to electric fields with various strengths (10-80 V/cm), frequency of 5 kHz, 4000 electric pulse and 100 µs duration in the presence and absence of three endocytosis inhibitors-chlorpromazine (Cpz), amiloride (Amilo) and genistein (Geni). We determined the efficiency of these chemotherapeutic agents in each group.
LVHF, depending on the intensity, induced different endocytosis pathways. Electric field strengths of 10 and 20 V/cm stimulated the macropinocytosis route. Clathrin-mediated endocytosis was observed at electric field intensities of 10, 30, 60 and 70 V/cm, whereas induction of caveolae-mediated endocytosis was observed only at the lowest electric field intensity (10 V/cm).
The results of this study imply that LVHF can induce different endocytosis pathways in MCF-7 cells, which leads to an increase in bleomycin uptake.