IJMS | Free Full-Text | Atorvastatin Modulates the Efficacy of Electroporation and Calcium Electrochemotherapy

Electroporation is influenced by the features of the targeted cell membranes, e.g., the cholesterol content and the surface tension of the membrane. The latter is eventually affected by the organization of actin fibers. Atorvastatin is a statin known to influence both the cholesterol content and the organization of actin. This work analyzes the effects of the latter on the efficacy of electroporation of cancer cells. In addition, herein, electroporation was combined with calcium chloride (CaEP) to assess as well the effects of the statin on the efficacy of electrochemotherapy. Cholesterol-rich cell lines MDA-MB231, DU 145, and A375 underwent (1) 48 h preincubation or (2) direct treatment with 50 nM atorvastatin. We studied the impact of the statin on cholesterol and actin fiber organization and analyzed the cells’ membrane permeability. The viability of cells subjected to PEF (pulsed electric field) treatments and CaEP with 5 mM CaCl2 was examined. Finally, to assess the safety of the therapy, we analyzed the N-and E-cadherin localization using confocal laser microscopy. The results of our investigation revealed that depending on the cell line, atorvastatin preincubation decreases the total cholesterol in the steroidogenic cells and induces reorganization of actin nearby the cell membrane. Under low voltage PEFs, actin reorganization is responsible for the increase in the electroporation threshold. However, when subject to high voltage PEF, the lipid composition of the cell membrane becomes the regulatory factor. Namely, preincubation with atorvastatin reduces the cytotoxic effect of low voltage pulses and enhances the cytotoxicity and cellular changes induced by high voltage pulses. The study confirms that the surface tension regulates of membrane permeability under low voltage PEF treatment. Accordingly, to reduce the unfavorable effects of preincubation with atorvastatin, electroporation of steroidogenic cells should be performed at high voltage and combined with a calcium supply.

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