Nonthermal irreversible electroporation (NTIRE) has been shown to ablate the small intestinal epithelium while maintaining submucosal and muscularis propriae integrity. NTIRE is used here in a first-in-mouse study to eliminate the native intestinal stem cell population to understand optimal parameters and timeline of mucosal regeneration.
Adult C57 background mice underwent laparotomy and electroporation of 1.5 cm of jejunum using a BTX 830 ECM electroporator and electrode calipers. Parameters were varied by voltage, pulse number, interval, and duration to determine optimal de-epithelialization. Electroporated segments were extracted 1 to 3 d after intervention with same-animal control segment. Cross sections were preserved, and measurements were taken to compare effects of parameters on villi height, crypt depth, crypt obliteration, and serosal thickness.
Morbidity was limited at a standard set of electroporation parameters (14%), and increased with higher voltage, longer interval, and shorter or longer pulses. Serosa/muscularis thickness was unaffected by varying interventions. Crypt depth and obliterated crypts were most affected by modulating pulse number, intervals, and duration. Villi height was most significantly shortened by altering pulse duration, with limited recovery by day 3, otherwise mucosal regeneration was observed in most cases by this point.
NTIRE is an effective method of denuding small intestinal epithelium in mice and temporarily ablating crypts while sparing the support scaffold for native regeneration. This first-in-mouse study of electroporation suggests it is a practical tool that can be utilized in a small mammalian system.
Nonthermal irreversible electroporation
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