DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.18867 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 18867: A Novel Light-Sensitive Ex-Vivo Rat Atrial Anatomical Model for Studying Atrial Arrhythmias and Cardioversion

Shany Glatstein, Matteo Ghiringhelli, yehuda wexler, Lilac Haimovich-Caspi, Irit Huber, Lior Gepstein
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Introduction: Atrial arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation (AF), contribute to significant morbidity and mortality. However, the lack of suitable tissue models in small animals hampers our understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Optogenetic actuators offer precise and reversible stimulation with high spatiotemporal resolution, presenting a unique opportunity to investigate atrial arrhythmias.

Hypothesis: Our aim was to develop a light-sensitive ex-vivo anatomical model in rats for studying atrial arrhythmias and to utilize this model for optimizing optogenetic stimulation and cardioversion strategies.

Methods: We injected purified AAV particles containing the transgenic light-sensitive channel (CoChR) into 5-day-old Wistar rats, followed by an 8-10 week period for atrial growth. The atria were then isolated, flattened, and affixed to a custom-made silicon plate. Superfusion with oxygenated Tyrode's solution and loading with Di-4-ANBDQBS allowed for high-resolution optical mapping. Atrial arrhythmias were induced through targeted tachypacing combined with carbamylcholine treatment. Additionally, we compared different optical and pharmacological treatment strategies to evaluate their efficacy in modulating atrial arrhythmias.

Results: Immunostaining confirmed atrial expression of CoChR. Optical mapping revealed a functional syncytium with sinus node activation and propagation throughout the atria. Pacing at increasing frequencies resulted in a relatively flattened action potential duration restitution curve. Successful induction of reentrant arrhythmias was achieved. Additionally, we demonstrated the feasibility of optogenetic actuators for atrial pacing, modulation of spontaneous activity, and optical termination of arrhythmias.

Conclusions: The developed optogenetic superfused atria model provides a valuable platform for studying atrial electrophysiology and modeling reentrant arrhythmias. Furthermore, it enables the optimization of optogenetic stimulation and cardioversion strategies. This integrated approach enhances our understanding of atrial arrhythmias and holds promise for the development of novel therapeutic interventions.

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