Models of electroporation and the associated transmembrane molecular transport should be revisited

M. Scuderi, J. Dermol-Černe, C. Amaral da Silva, A. Muralidharan, P. Boukany, Lea Rems*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


Electroporation has become a powerful tool for nonviral delivery of various biomolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, and chemotherapeutic drugs to virtually any living cell by exposing the cell membrane to an intense pulsed electric field. Different multiphysics and multiscale models have been developed to describe the phenomenon of electroporation and predict molecular transport through the electroporated membrane. In this paper, we critically examine the existing mechanistic, single-cell models which allow spatially and temporally resolved numerical simulations of electroporation-induced transmembrane transport of small molecules by confronting them with different experimental measurements. Furthermore, we assess whether any of the proposed models is universal enough to describe the associated transmembrane transport in general for all the different pulse parameters and small molecules used in electroporation applications. We show that none of the tested models can be universally applied to the full range of experimental measurements. Even more importantly, we show that none of the models has been compared to sufficient amount of experimental data to confirm the model validity. Finally, we provide guidelines and recommendations on how to design and report experiments that can be used to validate an electroporation model and how to improve the development of mechanistic models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108216
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • electropermeabilizatio
  • mathematical modeling
  • electrodiffusion
  • molecular transport
  • Multiphysics
  • multiscale


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