Optogenetics by Tandem Cell Unit Feasible in Cardiac Muscle

Tandem cell unit strategy validated in vitro in adult canine myocytes and rat cardiomyocytes

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Using a tandem cell unit (TCU) strategy, optogenetics is shown to be feasible for controlling excitation and contraction in cardiac muscle, according to an experimental study published online Aug. 9 in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.

Zhiheng Jia, from the Stony Brook University in New York, and colleagues demonstrated the utility of optogenetics to cardiac muscle using a TCU strategy. A stable cell line expressing channelrhodopsin2 (ChR2) was generated, characterized, and utilized as a cell delivery system. In vitro validation of the TCU strategy was carried out in cell pairs of adult canine cardiomyocytes and ChR2 cells, and in co-culture of neonatal rat cardiomyocytes.

The investigators identified high expression levels and/or functionality of ChR2 kinetics in the cell delivery system, and confirmed the ChR2-mediated inward current inducible by pulses of blue light in the developed cell line. In a functional TCU pair, the cardiomyocytes generated normal action potentials upon stimulation by blue light, which was indistinguishable from electrically-triggered ones. Optical mapping of propagating waves triggered by optical stimulation was similar to that triggered by electrical stimulation.

"Our results demonstrate feasibility to control excitation and contraction in cardiac muscle by light using the TCU approach," the authors write. "The TCU strategy is extendable to (non-viral) stem cell therapy and is directly relevant to in vivo applications."

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on August 10, 2011

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