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Scientists Present Novel Paradigm in Preclinical Cardiovascular Investigations

Two new publications in Frontiers in Physiology reveal new higher throughput strategies delivering significant differences in individual myocyte contractile properties.


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Two new publications featured this month in Frontiers in Physiology present powerful new higher throughput strategies revealing significant differences in individual myocyte contractile properties.

Published earlier this month, Wright et al (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2020.00612/full) from Imperial College London demonstrate the power of higher throughput calcium and contractility studies using an IonOptix MultiCell System (https://www.ionoptix.com/products/systems/multicell-high-throughput-system/). The authors employed a paradigm-shifting approach to data collection made possible by MultiCell's rapid data collection and repeated measures. Addressing one of the most common issues plaguing data reproducibility, their higher throughput data acquisition also allowed more robust advanced statistical algorithms that address species-dependent variability among myocyte populations.

"The introduction of a high-throughput method for measuring myocyte contractility and Ca2+ transients has the potential to revolutionize the study of cardiomyocyte pharmacology, physiology, and pathophysiology." – Wright et al.

Published just last week, Nollet et al (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2020.00815/full)  from Amsterdam UMC analyzed data from over 2,000 myocytes to address discrepancies among various regions within the heart. They observed profound differences between atrial and ventricular myocytes as expected. Individual ventricular myocyte contractile properties, however, were much harder to discern given the heterogeneity of those populations. But, aided by large datasets, they were able to demonstrate subtle but significant interventricular differences in shortening amplitude and velocity between right and left ventricles. Interestingly, myocytes from the interventricular septum behaved like those from the left ventricle despite being comprised of myocytes stemming from progenitors of both left and right ventricles. The authors also used their large datasets to show strong correlation between contraction and relaxation velocities as well as fractional shortening among all populations.

“Taken together, our study highlights the importance of extensive, unbiased sampling when performing studies on cardiomyocyte contractility.” – Nollet et al.

These studies represent a sizable shift in the approach scientists are taking towards functional studies in isolated cardiac myocytes. By collecting and analyzing larger datasets, researchers are now able to discern more subtle differences in contractile performance from within heterogeneous myocyte populations. This methodological leap forward will allow investigators to perform more comprehensive studies while also promising better reliability and reproducibility in future studies.