Available online 6 June 2021, 107871



Cell death mechanisms after electroporation are reviewed.

Cells after electroporation die through necrosis, apoptosis, necroptosis and pyroptosis.

Multiple cell injuries that lead to cell death are reviewed.

Membrane repair mechanisms after electroporation are reviewed.


Exposure of cells to high voltage electric pulses increases transiently membrane permeability through membrane electroporation. Electroporation can be reversible and is used in gene transfer and enhanced drug delivery but can also lead to cell death. Electroporation resulting in cell death (termed as irreversible electroporation) has been successfully used as a new non-thermal ablation method of soft tissue such as tumours or arrhythmogenic heart tissue. Even though the mechanisms of cell death can influence the outcome of electroporation-based treatments due to use of different electric pulse parameters and conditions, these are not elucidated yet. We review the mechanisms of cell death after electroporation reported in literature, cell injuries that may lead to cell death after electroporation and membrane repair mechanisms involved. The knowledge of membrane repair and cell death mechanisms after cell exposure to electric pulses, targets of electric field in cells need to be identified to optimize existing and develop of new electroporation-based techniques used in medicine, biotechnology, and food technology.



Cell death

Cell injury


Membrane repair




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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.

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