Ablation of bone cells by electroporation

M. Fini, M. Tschon, M. Ronchetti, F. Cavani, G. Bianchi, M. Mercuri, M. Alberghini, R. Cadossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Short intense electrical pulses transiently increase the permeability of the cell membrane, an effect known as electroporation. This can be combined with antiblastic drugs for ablation of tumours of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of electroporation when applied to bone and to understand whether the presence of mineralised trabeculae would affect the capability of the electric field to porate the membrane of bone cells. Different levels of electrical field were applied to the femoral bone of rabbits. The field distribution and modelling were simulated by computer. Specimens of bone from treated and control rabbits were obtained for histology, histomorphometry and biomechanical testing. After seven days, the area of ablation had increased in line with the number of pulses and/or with the amplitude of the electrical field applied. The osteogenic activity in the ablated area had recovered by 30 days. Biomechanical testing showed structural integrity of the bone at both times. Electroporation using the appropriate combination of voltage and pulses induced ablation of bone cells without affecting the recovery of osteogenic activity. It can be an effective treatment in bone and when used in combination with drugs, an option for the treatment of metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1614-1620
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B
Volume92 B
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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