Mimicking the cardiac cycle in intact cardiomyocytes using diastolic and systolic force clamps; measuring power output

Michiel Helmes, Aref Najafi, Bradley M. Palmer, Ernst Breel, Niek Rijnveld, Davide Iannuzzi, Jolanda van der Velden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: A single isolated cardiomyocyte is the smallest functional unit of the heart. Yet, all single isolated cardiomyocyte experiments have been limited by the lack of proper methods that could reproduce a physiological cardiac cycle. We aimed to investigate the contractile properties of a single cardiomyocyte that correctly mimic the cardiac cycle. Methods and results: By adjusting the parameters of the feedback loop, using a suitably engineered feedback system and recording the developed force and the length of a single rat cardiomyocyte during contraction and relaxation, we were able to construct force-length (FL) relations analogous to the pressure-volume (PV) relations at the whole heart level. From the cardiac loop graphs, we obtained, for the first time, the power generated by one single cardiomyocyte. Conclusion: Here, we introduce a new approach that by combining mechanics, electronics, and a new type optical force transducer can measure the FL relationship of a single isolated cardiomyocyte undergoing a mechanical loop that mimics the PV cycle of a beating heart.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-73
JournalCardiovascular research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Cardiomyocyte function
  • Force-length relation
  • Microtechnology

Cite this