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Cross-bridge cycling gives rise to spatiotemporal heterogeneity of dynamic subcellular mechanics in cardiac myocytes probed with atomic force microscopy


Tue, Mar 9 2010

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Cross-bridge cycling gives rise to spatiotemporal heterogeneity of dynamic subcellular mechanics in cardiac myocytes probed with atomic force microscopy

Cross-bridge cycling gives rise to spatiotemporal heterogeneity of dynamic subcellular mechanics in cardiac myocytes probed with atomic force microscopy

Evren U. Azeloglu1,2 and Kevin D. Costa1,2

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, and 2Cardiovascular Research Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

Submitted May 7, 2009 ; accepted in final form December 14, 2009

To study how the dynamic subcellular mechanical properties of the heart relate to the fundamental underlying process of actin-myosin cross-bridge cycling, we developed a novel atomic force microscope elastography technique for mapping spatiotemporal stiffness of isolated, spontaneously beating neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. Cells were indented repeatedly at a rate close but unequal to their contractile frequency. The resultant changes in pointwise apparent elastic modulus cycled at a predictable envelope frequency between a systolic value of 26.2 ± 5.1 kPa and a diastolic value of 7.8 ± 4.1 kPa at a representative depth of 400 nm. In cells probed along their major axis, spatiotemporal changes in systolic stiffness displayed a heterogeneous pattern, reflecting the banded sarcomeric structure of underlying myofibrils. Treatment with blebbistatin eliminated contractile activity and resulted in a uniform apparent modulus of 6.5 ± 4.8 kPa. This study represents the first quantitative dynamic mechanical mapping of beating cardiomyocytes. The technique provides a means of probing the micromechanical effects of disease processes and pharmacological treatments on beating cardiomyocytes, providing new insights and relating subcellular cardiac structure and function.

 

sarcomere; transverse stiffness; Young's modulus; elasticity; nanoindentation

 

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 298: H853-H860, 2010. First published December 18, 2009; doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00427.2009
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