Nanosecond electrical pulse (nsEP) exposure activates signaling pathways, produces oxidative stress, stimulates hormone secretion, causes cell swelling and induces apoptotic and necrotic death. The underlying biophysical connection(s) between these diverse cellular reactions and nsEP has yet to be elucidated. Using global genetic analysis, we evaluated how two commonly studied cell types, U937 and Jurkat, respond to nsEP exposure. We hypothesized that by studying the genetic response of the cells following exposure, we would gain direct insight into the stresses experienced by the cell and in turn better understand the biophysical interaction taking place during the exposure. Using Ingenuity Systems software, we found genes associated with cell growth, movement and development to be significantly up-regulated in both cell types 4 h post exposure to nsEP. In agreement with our hypothesis, we also found that both cell lines exhibit significant biological changes consistent with mechanical stress induction. These results advance nsEP research by providing strong evidence that the interaction of nsEPs with cells involves mechanical stress.
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