Basic Research in Cardiology

, Volume 83, Issue 4, pp 343–349 | Cite as

Are isolated cardiomyocytes a suitable experimental model in all lines of investigation in basic cardiology?

  • H. Kammermeier
  • H. Rose


Isolated cardiac myocytes of adult rats resemble the intact myocardium in many respects. Thus, use of isolated cells has been established in many lines of basic cardiological research. In electrophysiology, ionic channels can apparently be characterized more accurately than in intact tissue. The transport of metabolites across the sarcolemma can be studied independently of the influence of other types of cells and transport barriers. However, most reports about metabolism deal with quiescent cells, which obviously have a very low metabolic rate, provided they are intact, and their oxidative phosphorylation is not uncoupled. Thus, their application as a model of a working heart appears to be restricted. But using electrical stimulation, the metabolic activity of the cells can be gradually enhanced up to those values observed in beating hearts. In this case, the measurement of mechanical parameters as the myocytes respond to the electrical stimulation is of interest. The combination of the measurements of both metabolic and mechanical parameters in a physical model, led us to investigate the possibility of measuring inotropic effects as well as the relationship between mechanical changes and changes in oxygen consumption, e.g. as a result of the utilization of different substrates. This expands the application of the model to pharmacology, in which the influence of the mechanical action of the heart and its oxygen consumption is of major interest. If the model of isolated cardiomyocytes is employed in screening studies, a reduction in the number of experimental animals required for this line of rescarch will inevitably result.

Key words

cardiomyocytes inotropie effects cardiacmetabolism regulation electrical stimulation ofcardiomyocytes 


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Copyright information

© Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Kammermeier
    • 1
  • H. Rose
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung PhysiologieMedizinische Fakultät der RWTH AachenAachenF.R.G.

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