Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

S. Clay Isom


S. Clay Isom


Abby D. Benninghoff


Thomas D. Bunch


Lee F. Rickords


Irina Polejaeva


Gregory J. Podgorski


Electrical biostimulation is surrounding us in the environment, and some forms have been applied to medical therapy and clinical treatment. How electrical biostimulation affects cell function and behavior is for the most part largely unknown. There is some evidence that somatic cells might have the ability to transform to stem cells after exposure to electrical biostimulation in the presence of silver ions, which may have applications to wound healing and tissue regeneration. The use of silver has a long history in jewelry and silverware making, food storage, industrial and household production, and photographic industries. The medical application of silver has generated more and more interest since the 17th century because of its germicidal property of killing bacteria. Silver has been taken by ingestion, applied topically, or coated on various medical devices. As an effective antibacterial agent, silver has the ability to kill bacteria without any apparent damage to the eukaryotic cells. The mechanism(s) for how silver affects mammalian cells is not clear. It is necessary to evaluate any potential side effects of silver products like silver ion and to explore any potential benefits as well. In this study, 1) we found that electrical biostimulation did not directly induce cell reprogramming; 2) the high concentration of silver ions can cause cell death but at low concentrations used in this study, cell viability did not change. Low levels of silver ions can alter cell shape, gene expression, and cell metabolism. This leads to a circumstance where the cells are more metabolically active and more energy is produced in the cell. Lastly, it has been shown that the biochemically “active” silver ions can be reduced to their inert form and accumulated into silver nanoparticles that are stored inside the cell. These findings provide a clearer understanding of the beneficial and adverse effects of silver on mammalian cells, which is important considering silver’s widespread use in human and animal medical applications.



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