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108751 (1-6)




Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation is widely suggested as a trigger for biological consequences of electric field exposures, such as those in electroporation applications. ROS are linked with membrane barrier function degradation, genetic damage, and complex events like immunological cell death. Dihydroethidium (DHE) is commonly used to monitor ROS in cells. DHE is linked to intracellular ROS by a primary oxidation product, Ethidium (Eth+), that shows increased fluorescence upon binding to polynucleotides. We observed changes in DHE-derived fluorescence in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells post 300-ns electric pulse exposures, comparing them to tert-butyl-hydroperoxide (t-BHP) induced oxidative stress. Immediate intracellular fluorescence changes were noted in both cases, but with distinct localization patterns. After electrical stress, cytosolic DHE-derived fluorescence intensity decreases, and nucleolar intensity increases. Conversely, t-BHP exposure increases DHE-derived fluorescence uniformly across the cell. Surprisingly, fluorescence patterns after electrical stress in Eth+-loaded cells is identical to those in DHE-loaded cells, in kinetics and localization patterns. These findings indicate that DHE-derived fluorescence changes after pulsed electric field stress are not due to intracellular ROS generation leading to DHE oxidation, but rather indicate stress-induced intracellular microenvironment alterations affecting Eth+ fluorescence.


© 2024 The Author(s).

This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.

Data Availability

Article states: "Data will be made available on request."

Original Publication Citation

Sözer, E. B., Semenov, I., & Vernier, P. T. (2024). Dihydroethidium-derived fluorescence in electrically stressed cells indicates intracellular microenvironment modifications independent of ROS. Bioelectrochemistry, 160, 1-6, Article 108751.


0000-0002-6244-3670 (Sözer), 0000-0002-0302-1355 (Semenov), 0000-0003-2335-1500 (Vernier)