Date: 15 Jul 2010

In Vitro Electrophysiological Mapping of Stem Cells

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Abstract

The use of stem cells for cardiac regeneration is a revolutionary, emerging research area. For proper function as replacement tissue, stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (SC-CMs) must electrically couple with the host cardiac tissue. Electrophysiological mapping techniques, including microelectrode array (MEA) and optical mapping, have been developed to study cardiomyocytes and cardiac cell monolayers, and these can be applied to study stem cells and SC-CMs. MEA recordings take extracellular measurements at numerous points across a small area of cell cultures and are used to assess electrical propagation during cell culture. Optical mapping uses fluorescent dyes to monitor electrophysiological changes in cells, most commonly transmembrane potential and intracellular calcium, and can be easily scaled to areas of different sizes. The materials and methods for MEA and optical mapping are presented here, together with detailed notes on their use, design, and fabrication. We also provide examples of voltage and calcium maps of mouse embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (mESC-CMs), obtained in our laboratory using optical mapping techniques.