Strength-duration relationship as a tool to prioritize cardiac tissue properties that govern electrical excitability.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2019 Jul 29;317(7):H13-H25. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine , Atlanta, Georgia.

Engineered cardiac tissue and cardiomyocyte cell cultures offer wide opportunities for improved therapeutic intervention and laboratory heart models. Electrical field excitation is a common intervention in the production of engineered tissue and the investigation of the electrical properties of in vitro cell cultures. In this work, we use strength-duration relationships to investigate systematically factors influencing electrical excitability of two- (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) neonatal rat ventricular myocyte cultures. We find that the strength of the voltage pulse is negatively correlated with the threshold duration, as predicted by the Lapicque-Hill equation, and show that higher pacing frequencies require higher thresholds to capture paced cultures. We also study the impact of properties intrinsic to the 2D and 3D cultures on strength-duration relationships. We show that a smaller culture dimension, perpendicular anisotropic culture orientation with respect to electrical field, higher proportion of added fibroblasts, and TBX18-induced pacemaker reprogramming independently result in higher stimulation thresholds. These properties reflect the characteristics of the well-insulated endogenous pacemaking tissue in the heart (sinoatrial node) and should guide the engineering of biological pacemakers for improved outcomes. Gaps exist in the availability of in vitro functional assessment tools that can emulate the integration of regenerative cells and tissues to the host myocardium. We use strength-duration relationships of electrically stimulated two- and three-dimensional myocardial constructs to study the effects of pacing frequency, culture dimensions, anisotropic cell alignment, fibroblast content, and pacemaker phenotype on electrical excitability. Our study delivers electrical strength-duration as a quantifiable parameter to evaluate design parameters of engineered cardiac tissue constructs.

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July 2019
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References

(Supplied by CrossRef)
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Buruljanowa I et al.
Zentralbl Allg Pathol 1987

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