We develop a theoretical framework to describe the dielectric response of live cells in suspensions when placed in low external electric fields. The treatment takes into account the presence of the cell's membrane and of the charge movement at the membrane's surfaces. For spherical cells suspended in aqueous solutions, we give an analytic solution for the dielectric function, which is shown to account for the α- and β-plateaus seen in many experimental data. The effect of different physical parameters on the dielectric curves is methodically analyzed.
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