• dielectric barrier discharge plasma;
  • E-cadherin;
  • EGF receptor;
  • HaCaT keratinocytes;
  • integrins;
  • plasma medicine


Non-thermal atmospheric-pressure plasmas have been developed that will be used in future for several purposes, e.g. medicine. Living tissues and cells are at the focus of plasma treatment, e.g. to improve wound healing, or induce apoptosis and growth arrest in tumour cells. Detailed investigations of plasma-cell interactions are needed. Cell surface adhesion molecules as integrins, cadherins or the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) are of importance in wound healing and also for development of cancer metastasis. This study has focused on measurement of cell surface molecules on human HaCaT keratinocytes (human adult low calcium temperature keratinocytes) promoting adhesion, migration and proliferation as one important feature of plasma-cell interactions. HaCaT keratinocytes were treated with plasma by a surface dielectric barrier discharge in air. Cell surface molecules and induction of intracellular ROS (reactive oxygen species) were analysed by flow cytometry 24 h after plasma treatment. Besides a reduction of cell viability a significant down-regulation of E-cadherin and the EGFR expression occurred. The influence on α2- and β1-integrins was less pronounced, and expression of ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecule 1) was unaffected. The extent of effects depended on the exposure time of cells to the plasma and the treatment regimen. Intracellular level of ROS detected by the fluorescent dye H2DCFDA (2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate) increased by plasma treatment, but it was neither dependent on the treatment time nor related to the different treatment regimens. Two-dimensional cultures of HaCaT keratinocytes appear to be a suitable method of investigating plasma-cell interactions.