Tissue electrolysis is an alternative modality that uses a low intensity direct electric current passing through at least 2 electrodes within the tissue and resulting electrochemical products including chlorine and hydrogen. These products induce changes in pH around electrodes and cause dehydration resulting from electroosmotic pressure, leading to changes in microenvironment and thus metabolism of the tissues, yielding apoptosis. The procedure requires adequate time for electrochemical reactions to yield products sufficient to induce apoptosis of the tissues. Incorporation of electroporation into electrolysis can decrease the treatment time and enhance the efficiency of electrolytic ablation. Electroporation causes permeabilization in the cell membrane allowing the efflux of potassium ions and extension of the electrochemical area, facilitating the electrolysis process. However, little is known about the combined effects on apoptosis in liver ablation. In this study, we performed an immunohistochemical evaluation of apoptosis for the incorporation of electroporation into electrolysis in liver tissues. To do so, the study was performed with microelectrodes for fixed treatment time while the applied voltage varied to increase the applied total energy for electrolysis. The apoptotic rate for electrolytic ablation increased with enhanced applied energy. The apoptotic rate was 4.31 ± 1.73 times that of control in the synergistic combination compared to 1.49 ± 0.33 times that of the control in electrolytic ablation alone. Additionally, tissue structure was better preserved in synergistic combination ablation compared to electrolysis with an increment of 3.8 mA. Thus, synergistic ablation may accelerate apoptosis and be a promising modality for the treatment of liver tumors.

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