High-Voltage, Pulsed Electric Fields Eliminate Pseudomonas aeruginosa Stable Infection in a Mouse Burn Model

Mengjie Wu, Andrey Ethan Rubin, Tianhong Dai, Rene Schloss, Osman Berk Usta, Alexander Golberg, Martin Yarmush

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: The incidence of severe infectious complications after burn injury increases mortality by 40%. However, traditional approaches for managing burn infections are not always effective. High-voltage, pulsed electric field (PEF) treatment shortly after a burn injury has demonstrated an antimicrobial effect in vivo; however, the working parameters and long-term effects of PEF treatment have not yet been investigated. Approach: Nine sets of PEF parameters were investigated to optimize the applied voltage, pulse duration, and frequency or pulse repetition for disinfection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in a stable mouse burn wound model. The bacterial load after PEF administration was monitored for 3 days through bioluminescence imaging. Histological assessments and inflammation response analyses were performed at 1 and 24 h after the therapy. Results: Among all tested PEF parameters, the best disinfection efficacy of P. aeruginosa infection was achieved with a combination of 500 V, 100 μs, and 200 pulses delivered at 3 Hz through two plate electrodes positioned 1 mm apart for up to 3 days after the injury. Histological examinations revealed fewer inflammatory signs in PEF-treated wounds compared with untreated infected burns. Moreover, the expression levels of multiple inflammatory-related cytokines (interleukin [IL]-1α/β, IL-6, IL-10, leukemia inhibitory factor [LIF], and tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α]), chemokines (macrophage inflammatory protein [MIP]-1α/β and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 [MCP-1]), and inflammation-related factors (vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF], macrophage colony-stimulating factor [M-CSF], and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor [G-CSF]) were significantly decreased in the infected burn wound after PEF treatment. Innovation: We showed that PEF treatment on infected wounds reduces the P. aeruginosa load and modulates inflammatory responses. Conclusion: The data presented in this study suggest that PEF treatment is a potent candidate for antimicrobial therapy for P. aeruginosa burn infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-489
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Wound Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • burn infection
  • disinfection
  • inflammation
  • pulsed electric field


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