Translocation of silica nanospheres through giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) induced by a high frequency electromagnetic field

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RSC Advances


Membrane model systems capable of mimicking live cell membranes were used for the first time in studying the effects arising from electromagnetic fields (EMFs) of 18 GHz where membrane permeability was observed following exposure. A present lack of understanding of the mechanisms that drive such a rapid change in membrane permeabilization as well as any structural or dynamic changes imparted on biomolecules affected by high-frequency electromagnetic irradiation limits the use of 18 GHz EMFs in biomedical applications. A phospholipid, 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) labelled with a fluorescent marker 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-(lissamine rhodamine B sulfonyl) (rhodamine-DOPE) was used in constructing the giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs). After three cycles of exposure, enhanced membrane permeability was observed by the internalisation of hydrophilic silica nanospheres of 23.5 nm and their clusters. All-atom molecular dynamics simulations of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) membranes exposed to high frequency electric fields of different field strengths showed that within the simulation timeframe only extremely high strength fields were able to cause an increase in the interfacial water dynamics characterized by water dipole realignments. However, a lower strength, high frequency EMF induced changes of the water hydrogen bond network, which may contribute to the mechanisms that facilitate membrane permeabilization in a longer timeframe.

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