Theory and in vivo application of electroporative gene delivery

Stella Somiari, Jill Glasspool-Malone, Joseph J. Drabick, Richard A. Gilbert, Richard Heller, Mark J. Jaroszeski, Robert W. Malone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

269 Scopus citations


Efficient and safe methods for delivering exogenous genetic material into tissues must be developed before the clinical potential of gene therapy will be realized. Recently, in vivo electroporation has emerged asa leading technology for developing nonviral gene therapies and nucleic acid vaccines (NAV). Electroporation (EP) involves the application of pulsed electric fields to cells to enhance cell permeability, resulting in exogenous polynucleotide transit across the cytoplasmic membrane. Similar pulsed electrical field treatments are employed in a wide range of biotechnological processes including in vitro EP, hybridoma production, development of transgenic animals, and clinical electrochemotherapy. Electroporative gene delivery studies benefit from well-developed literature that may be used to guide experimental design and interpretation. Both theory and experimental analysis predict that the critical parameters governing EP efficacy include cell size and field strength, duration, frequency, and total number of applied pulses. These parameters must be optimized for each tissue in order to maximize gene delivery while minimizing irreversible cell damage. By providing an overview of the theory and practice of electroporative gene transfer, this review intendsto aid researchers that wish to employ the method for preclinical and translational gene therapy, NAV, and functional genomic research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2000
Externally publishedYes


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