Feasibility of high-density electrophysiological study using multiple-electrode array in isolated small animal atria

Dennis H. Lau, Lorraine MacKenzie, Nicholas J. Shipp, Pawel Kuklik, Hany Dimitri, Bruce Lw Lobb, Muayad Alasady, Han S. Lim, Douglas R. Kelly, Anthony G. Brooks, David A. Saint, Prashanthan Sanders

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Summary 1. High-density cardiac electrophysiological study (EPS) of small animal atria has been limited to optical mapping techniques, which require complex and expensive equipment setup. We aim to evaluate the feasibility of carrying out EPS in isolated atrial tissues using a custom made high-density multiple-electrode array (MEA). 2. Isolated rat atrial preparations were studied. The MEA (4 × 5 mm) consisted of 90 silver chloride coated electrodes (0.1 mm diameter, 0.5 mm pitch) and was connected to a conventional EP system yielding 80 bipolar signals. Atrial tissues were placed over the MEA in a dish bubbled with 100% oxygen and superfused with modified HEPES solution at pH 7.35 and 37°C. Then, 1 mmol of 2,3-butanedione monoxime was added to suppress motion artifacts from muscle contractions. Custom plaque analysis software was used for offline conduction analysis. 3. Isolated atrial tissues showed good viability of > 30 min, allowing ample time for complete EPS. High quality electrograms with excellent signal to noise ratio were obtained. All electrophysiological parameters showed good reproducibility: effective refractory period, conduction velocity and heterogeneity index. Tachycardia was also inducible in these normal atria. 4. The present study shows the feasibility of performing high-density EPS of small isolated atrial tissues with a conventional electrode-based technique. The MEA system is compatible with standard electrophysiology recording systems and provides a novel, inexpensive option for detailed EPS in small animal models. In particular, it presents new research avenues to further explore the mechanisms of atrial arrhythmias in various transgenic and knockout rodent models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1027
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • atria
  • high-density mapping
  • multiple-electrode array

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)

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