. 2021 Jul 13;142:107886.

doi: 10.1016/j.bioelechem.2021.107886.

Online ahead of print.


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Nastaran Alinezhadbalalami et al.




Expansion of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) is a crucial step in almost all cancer immunotherapeutic methods. Current techniques for expansion of tumor-reactive CTLs present major limitations. This study introduces a novel method to effectively produce and expand tumor-activated CTLs using high-voltage pulsed electric fields. We hypothesize that utilizing high-voltage pulsed electric fields may be an ideal method to activate and expand CTLs due to their non-thermal celldeath mechanism. Tumor cells were subjected to high-frequency irreversible electroporation (HFIRE) with various electric field magnitudes (1250, 2500 V/cm) and pulse widths (1, 5, and 10 µs), or irreversible electroporation (IRE) at 1250 V/cm. The treated tumor cells were subsequently cocultured with CD4+ and CD8+ T cells along with antigen-presenting cells. We show that tumor-activated CTLs can be produced and expanded when exposed to treated tumor cells. Our results suggest that CTLs are more effectively expanded when pulsed with HFIRE conditions that induce significant cell death (longer pulse widths and higher voltages). Activated CD8+ T cells demonstrate cytotoxicity to untreated tumor cells suggesting effector function of the activated CTLs. The activated CTLs produced with our technique could be used for clinical applications with the goal of targeting and eliminating the tumor.


Anti-tumor immunity; Antigen presentation; Cytotoxic T cell; High frequency irreversible electroporation; Irreversible electroporation; T cell Activation.

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Competing Interest Nastaran Alinezhadbalalami, Scott S. Verbridge, Irving C. Allen, and Rafael V. Davalos have pattent applications on this work. The authors declare no other competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

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