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Theoretical analysis of the electrochemical systems used for the application of direct current/voltage stimuli on cell cultures

Guette-Marquet, Simon and Roques, Christine and Bergel, Alain Theoretical analysis of the electrochemical systems used for the application of direct current/voltage stimuli on cell cultures. (2021) Bioelectrochemistry, 139. 107737. ISSN 1567-5394

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bioelechem.2020.107737


Endogenous electric fields drive many essential functions relating to cell proliferation, motion, differentiation and tissue development. They are usually mimicked in vitro by using electrochemical systems to apply direct current or voltage stimuli to cell cultures. The many studies devoted to this topic have given rise to a wide variety of experimental systems, whose results are often difficult to compare. Here, these systems are analysed from an electrochemical standpoint to help harmonize protocols and facilitate optimal understanding of the data produced. The theoretical analysis of single-electrode systems shows the necessity of measuring the Nernst potential of the electrode and of discussing the results on this basis rather than using the value of the potential gradient. The paper then emphasizes the great complexity that can arise when high cell voltage is applied to a single electrode, because of the possible occurrence of anode and cathode sites. An analysis of two-electrode systems leads to the advice to change experimental practices by applying current instead of voltage. It also suggests that the values of electric fields reported so far may have been considerably overestimated in macro-sized devices. It would consequently be wise to revisit this area by testing considerably lower electric field values.

Item Type:Article
HAL Id:hal-03136237
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (FRANCE)
Deposited On:09 Feb 2021 14:25

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