Application of Nanosecond Pulsed Electric Field and Autofluorescence Lifetime Microscopy of FAD in Lung Cells

Kamlesh Awasthi*, Tsai En Wu, Hsin Yun Hsu, Nobuhiro Ohta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure of nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) to live cells is an increasing research interest in biology and medicine. Despite extensive studies, a question still remains as to how effects of application of nsPEF on intracellular functions are different between cancerous cells and normal cells and how the difference can be detected. Herein, we have presented an approach of autofluorescence lifetime (AFL) microscopy of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) to detect effects of application of nsPEF having 50 ns of a pulse width, nsPEF(50), on intracellular function in lung cancerous cells, A549 and H661, which show nsPEF(50)-induced apoptosis, and normal cells, MRC-5, in which the field effect is less or not induced. Then, the application of nsPEF(50) is shown to increase the lifetime of FAD autofluorescence in lung cancerous cells, whereas the electric field effects on the autofluorescence of FAD was not significant in normal healthy cells, which indicates that the lifetime measurements of FAD autofluorescence are applicable to detect the field-induced change in intracellular functions. Lifetime and intensity microscopic images of FAD autofluorescence in these lung cells were also acquired after exposure to the apoptosis-inducer staurosporine (STS). Then, it was found that the AFL of FAD became longer after exposure not only in the cancerous cells but also in the normal cells. These results indicate that nsPEF(50) applied to lung cells induced apoptotic cell death only in lung cancerous cells (H661 and A549) but not in lung normal cells (MRC-5), whereas STS induced apoptotic cell death both in lung cancerous cells and in lung normal cells. The lifetime microscopy of FAD autofluorescence is suggested to be very useful as a sensitive detection method of nsPEF-induced apoptotic cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5566-5575
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number25
StatePublished - 29 Jun 2023


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