Mimicking the cardiac cycle in intact cardiomyocytes using diastolic and systolic force clamps; measuring power output

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Abstract

Aims

A single isolated cardiomyocyte is the smallest functional unit of the heart. Yet, all single isolated cardiomyocyte experiments have been limited by the lack of proper methods that could reproduce a physiological cardiac cycle. We aimed to investigate the contractile properties of a single cardiomyocyte that correctly mimic the cardiac cycle.

Methods and results

By adjusting the parameters of the feedback loop, using a suitably engineered feedback system and recording the developed force and the length of a single rat cardiomyocyte during contraction and relaxation, we were able to construct force–length (FL) relations analogous to the pressure–volume (PV) relations at the whole heart level. From the cardiac loop graphs, we obtained, for the first time, the power generated by one single cardiomyocyte.

Conclusion

Here, we introduce a new approach that by combining mechanics, electronics, and a new type optical force transducer can measure the FL relationship of a single isolated cardiomyocyte undergoing a mechanical loop that mimics the PV cycle of a beating heart.

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