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In Vivo Pressurization of the Zebrafish Embryonic Heart as a Tool to Characterize Tissue Properties During Development

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Abstract

Cardiac morphogenesis requires an intricate orchestration of mechanical stress to sculpt the heart as it transitions from a straight tube to a multichambered adult heart. Mechanical properties are fundamental to this process, involved in a complex interplay with function, morphology, and mechanotransduction. In the current work, we propose a pressurization technique applied to the zebrafish atrium to quantify mechanical properties of the myocardium under passive tension. By further measuring deformation, we obtain a pressure-stretch relationship that is used to identify constitutive models of the zebrafish embryonic cardiac tissue. Two-dimensional results are compared with a three-dimensional finite element analysis based on reconstructed embryonic heart geometry. Through these steps, we found that the myocardium of zebrafish results in a stiffness on the order of 10 kPa immediately after the looping stage of development. This work enables the ability to determine how these properties change under normal and pathological heart development.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Steven Pagano and Mitchell Page for their help with the FEA.

Funding

This work was supported by the American Heart Association [Grant Number 17GRNT33460256].

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Correspondence to David Bark Jr..

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Associate Editor Arash Kheradvar oversaw the review of this article.

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Gendernalik, A., Zebhi, B., Ahuja, N. et al. In Vivo Pressurization of the Zebrafish Embryonic Heart as a Tool to Characterize Tissue Properties During Development. Ann Biomed Eng 49, 834–845 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10439-020-02619-5

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