Abstract 5402: Two Photon Microscopy Measurements Of Sub-epicardial Sarcomere Length In Perfused Rat Hearts
Sarcomere length (SL) is a fundamental parameter underlying the Frank Starling relation in the heart, as it offers an absolute representation of myocardial stretch. Previous studies addressed the Frank Starling relation by measuring SL in isolated myocytes or muscle strips. Here, we report first data obtained using a novel technique to measure sub-epicardial SL in perfused hearts. Rat hearts were Langendorff perfused (normal Tyrode solution) at a constant pressure of 90mmHg, labeled with the fluorescent membrane marker di-4-ANEPPS, and then arrested with high-K+ Tyrode for either 2-photon microscopy (n=4) or MRI (n=4). Image analysis software was developed to extract SL at the cell level from >1,400 2-photon images (Fig 1⇓) and correct for cell angle. SL increased by 10±2 % between 30 and 80 min of perfusion (1.98±0.04 to 2.17±0.03 μm; p<0.05; Fig 1⇓). Measurements of left ventricular myocardial volume (LVMV) were made in vivo and in perfused hearts using 3D MRI. LVMV increased by 24±7% from in vivo to 30 min of perfusion, and by 11±3 % between 30 and 90 min (539±35; 664±44; 737±49 mm3, respectively; p<0.05; Fig 1⇓). We show that SL can be measured in isolated perfused hearts. The method allowed monitoring of changes in SL over time, and showed that SL and LVMV increase to a similar extent during 30–80 min perfusion with crystalloid solution, probably due to tissue oedema. This result, together with the increase in LVMV during the first 30 min, highlights the pronounced differences between in vivo, in situ, and in vitro model systems for studies of cardiac physiology and mechanics. Future research will compare changes in SL in healthy hearts and disease models involving contractile dysfunction.