Cell function

Many projects at IEMR studies the activity and function of individual cells in health and disease. Currently, most focus is given to cardiac and skeletal muscle cells. These cells have the ability to contract in response to electrical stimulation. In diseases such as heart failure, all levels of the process linking electrical stimulation to contraction and relaxation are affected in muscle cells. It is therefore important to study both the electrical properties (patch-clamp technique and field-stimulation) and contractile properties of cells (edge detection and single-fiber measurements).

Patch-clamp technique: An electrical circuit is established between the cell interior and exterior by the aid of ultra-fine glass pipettes. Control and measurements of current and voltage is possible for the study of ion-channels and ion fluxes.

Field-stimulation: Individual cells or groups of cells are stimulated by applying an electrical field to the cell bath. Contraction and ion fluxes are elicited and measured.

Edge detection: The cell borders are marked an traced by the aid of specialised video-based equipment. Speed and amplitude of contractions are measured.

Single-fiber measuremenets: The two ends of a single muscle fiber are attached to an a power meter for measurements of power, amplitude and speed of contractions.

Mechanical stretch of cell cultures: Cells cultured in petri-dishes are exposed to quantifiable passive stretch, eliciting responses in expression and activity of proteins.

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