Biophysicists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and their colleagues have proposed a simple way to observe the heart tissue. Besides being relatively uncomplicated, the new method is cheaper and produces results that are more independent, compared with the analogues currently in use. The study came out in Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
The heart tissue is a special kind of muscle. When excitation waves propagate through it, this causes the constituent fibers to contract. The excitation waves coordinate the work of the heart compartments to ensure the organ functions correctly.
Many heart diseases, among them arrhythmias, are associated with disruptions in excitation wave conduction or with some peculiar propagation regimes taking over.
This is why fundamental research into the mechanisms of excitation wave propagation in the heart is important. Such studies provide insights into how the heart functions, how arrhythmias arise, and how various drugs and substances affect the processes in the cardiac tissue.
One of the staple methods for observing excitation waves is optical mapping. It involves the use of fluorescent dyes to visualize the propagation of excitations in the heart tissue. The process is monitored with sensitive video cameras, and the resulting data are then subjected to analysis.
Optical mapping has certain drawbacks. For one thing, the dyes and cameras suitable for the technique are fairly expensive. Another disadvantage is that the dye may interact with drugs and thus disturb the experiment. The dyes also affect the cells in the heart tissue sample, reducing their lifetimes.
"We found that if you grow the cardiac tissue culture on an elastic substrate made of polydimethylsiloxane, it is possible to observe wave propagation with a microscope, and no dyes are needed," said Konstantin Guria, a senior researcher at the MIPT Laboratory of the Biophysics of Excitable Systems.
This idea laid the foundation for the new method. In it the heart tissue is cultivated on an elastic substrate. As a result, when an excitation wave propagates across the sample in the experiment, the substrate deforms.
This process can be optically registered via oblique illumination. The technique eases camera requirements, because even a GoPro provides sufficient quality.
"We have proposed a method that is simpler and cheaper than conventional mapping. That said, an even greater competitive advantage is being sure that the analyzed substance does not interact with a dye, since it becomes redundant for visualization," commented Konstantin Agladze, who heads the Laboratory of the Biophysics of Excitable Systems at MIPT.
The new method can be used for affordable testing of various processes on tissue cultures grown from stem cells. The process lends itself to automation and is suitable for longer observations than those that rely on regular mapping.
In addition to MIPT staff, this study involved researchers from Vladimirsky Moscow Regional Research and Clinical Institute and the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The Laboratory of the Biophysics of Excitable Systems is part of the Phystech School of Biological and Medical Physics at MIPT. It uses human cardiac tissue models to conduct experimental research into the fundamental mechanisms behind heart arrhythmias. The head of the laboratory is Konstantin Agladze. You can reach the lab by contacting the secretary, Irina Egorova, at email@example.com or by dialing +7 (495) 408-46-45.
Varvara Bogomolova | EurekAlert!
Gut bacteria improve type 2 diabetes risk prediction
06.07.2020 | Technische Universität München
How a mutation on the novel coronavirus has come to dominate the globe
06.07.2020 | La Jolla Institute for Immunology
Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.
Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....
Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.
Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...
A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...
Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"
The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...
With an X-ray experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble (France), Empa researchers were able to demonstrate how well their real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams works. With almost 90 percent reliability, they detected the formation of unwanted pores that impair the quality of weld seams. Thanks to a special evaluation method based on artificial intelligence (AI), the detection process is completed in just 70 milliseconds.
Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for...
02.07.2020 | Event News
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
06.07.2020 | Materials Sciences
06.07.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.07.2020 | Health and Medicine