Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A heart beats to a different drummer

16.08.2010
Researchers pace embryonic heart with laser

Love, exercise and, new research shows, an infrared laser can make a heart beat faster.

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University and Vanderbilt University found that pulsed light can pace contractions in an avian embryonic heart, with no apparent damage to the tissue. The work, "Optical pacing of the embryonic heart," will be published in the advanced online issue of Nature Photonics on Aug. 15, 2010.

According to the scientists, this non-invasive device may prove an effective tool in understanding how environmental factors that alter an embryo's heart rate lead to congenital defects. It may also lead to investigations of cardiac electrophysiology at the cellular, tissue and organ levels, and possibly the development of a new generation of pacemakers.

"The mechanisms behind many congenital defects are not well known. But, there is a suspicion that when the early embryonic heart beats slower or faster than normal, that changes gene regulation and changes development," said Michael Jenkins, a postdoctoral researcher in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve.

"If we can precisely control pacing, we could figure out how structure, function and gene expression all work together," said Michiko Watanabe, PhD, professor of pediatrics, genetics and anatomy at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

Jenkins came up with the idea to try the infrared laser on an embryonic heart. He stumbled on an obscure paper from the 1960s in which researchers found that continuous exposure to visible light accelerated the heart rate of an embryonic chicken. He also knew of the success that Eric D. "Duco" Jansen, a professor of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, had using an infrared laser to stimulate nerves. He then hypothesized that pulsed infrared light may enable pacing of the embryonic heart.

Case Western Reserve explained the proposed experiment to Jansen, who agreed to collaborate.

A video of the embryonic heart pacing, recorded by Jenkins, may be seen at: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/926316489/f2f087c288e36c9246bdd5dd95e145af

How does the laser make the heart beat?

The investigators believe a pulse of infrared light creates a temperature gradient in heart tissue that opens ion channels in a cascade along a heart cell. This effect spurs along an electrical impulse that makes the heart contract.

It's early in the research, "but we think this has exciting implications, especially if we can extend this into the adult heart," said Andrew Rollins, professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve.

Rollins' lab is now experimenting with adult heart tissue, to determine whether the laser could be used as an implantable pacemaker or to pace an adult heart during surgery or other clinical work.

Watanabe, who specializes in heart development and has studied heart conduction in the developing heart, said the findings could lead to the development of a pacemaker for a child's or baby's heart or even in utero. However, many more studies have to be done to show it would work and be safe. In a young heart, electrodes can cause damage and long term use of traditional pacemakers can lead to heart failure, she said.

Kevin Mayhood | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.case.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>