Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a nonthermal tumor/cell ablation technique in which a series of high-voltage short pulses are used. As a new approach, we aimed to investigate the rupture of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) using the IRE technique under different osmotic pressures (Π), and estimated the membrane tension due to Π. Two categories of GUVs were used in this study. One was prepared with a mixture of dioleoylphosphatidylglycerol (DOPG), dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) and cholesterol (chol) for obtaining more biological relevance while other with a mixture of DOPG and DOPC, with specific molar ratios. We determined the rate constant (kp) of rupture of DOPG/DOPC/chol (46/39/15)-GUVs and DOPG/DOPC (40/60)-GUVs induced by constant electric tension (σc) under different Π. The σc dependent kp values were fitted with a theoretical equation, and the corresponding membrane tension (σoseq) at swelling equilibrium under Π was estimated. The estimated membrane tension agreed well with the theoretical calculation within the experimental error. Interestingly, the values of σoseq were almost same for both types of synthesized GUVs under same osmotic pressure. We also examined the sucrose leakage, due to large osmotic pressure-induced pore formation, from the inside of DOPG/DOPC/chol(46/39/15)-GUVs. The estimated membrane tension due to large Π at which sucrose leaked out was very similar to the electric tension at which GUVs were ruptured without Π. We explained the σc and Π induced pore formation in the lipid membranes of GUVs.

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