Automated analysis of contractile force and Ca2+ transients in engineered heart tissue. Academic Article uri icon


  • Contraction and relaxation are fundamental aspects of cardiomyocyte functional biology. They reflect the response of the contractile machinery to the systolic increase and diastolic decrease of the cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration. The analysis of contractile function and Ca(2+) transients is therefore important to discriminate between myofilament responsiveness and changes in Ca(2+) homeostasis. This article describes an automated technology to perform sequential analysis of contractile force and Ca(2+) transients in up to 11 strip-format, fibrin-based rat, mouse, and human fura-2-loaded engineered heart tissues (EHTs) under perfusion and electrical stimulation. Measurements in EHTs under increasing concentrations of extracellular Ca(2+) and responses to isoprenaline and carbachol demonstrate that EHTs recapitulate basic principles of heart tissue functional biology. Ca(2+) concentration-response curves in rat, mouse, and human EHTs indicated different maximal twitch forces (0.22, 0.05, and 0.08 mN in rat, mouse, and human, respectively; P < 0.001) and different sensitivity to external Ca(2+) (EC50: 0.15, 0.39, and 1.05 mM Ca(2+) in rat, mouse, and human, respectively; P < 0.001) in the three groups. In contrast, no difference in myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity was detected between skinned rat and human EHTs, suggesting that the difference in sensitivity to external Ca(2+) concentration is due to changes in Ca(2+) handling proteins. Finally, this study confirms that fura-2 has Ca(2+) buffering effects and is thereby changing the force response to extracellular Ca(2+).

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Stoehr, A., Neuber, C., Baldauf, C., Vollert, I., Friedrich, F. W., Flenner, F., ... Hansen, A.

citation count

  • 63

complete list of authors

  • Stoehr, Andrea||Neuber, Christiane||Baldauf, Christina||Vollert, Ingra||Friedrich, Felix W||Flenner, Frederik||Carrier, Lucie||Eder, Alexandra||Schaaf, Sebastian||Hirt, Marc N||Aksehirlioglu, B├╝lent||Tong, Carl W||Moretti, Alessandra||Eschenhagen, Thomas||Hansen, Arne

publication date

  • May 2014