Tomsits P, Schüttler D, Kääb S, Clauss S, Voigt N
Journal of Visualized Experiments
J Vis Exp. 2020 Nov 3;(165).
Mouse models play a crucial role in arrhythmia research and allow studying key mechanisms of arrhythmogenesis including altered ion channel function and calcium handling. For this purpose, atrial or ventricular cardiomyocytes of high quality are necessary to perform patch-clamp measurements or to explore calcium handling abnormalities. However, the limited yield of high-quality cardiomyocytes obtained by current isolation protocols does not allow both measurements in the same mouse. This article describes a method to isolate high-quality murine atrial and ventricular myocytes via retrograde enzyme-based Langendorff perfusion, for subsequent simultaneous measurements of calcium transients and L-type calcium current from one animal. Mouse hearts are obtained, and the aorta is rapidly cannulated to remove blood. Hearts are then initially perfused with a calcium-free solution (37 °C) to dissociate the tissue at the level of intercalated discs and afterwards with an enzyme solution containing little calcium to disrupt extracellular matrix (37 °C). The digested heart is subsequently dissected into atria and ventricles. Tissue samples are chopped into small pieces and dissolved by carefully pipetting up and down. The enzymatic digestion is stopped, and cells are stepwise reintroduced to physiologic calcium concentrations. After loading with a fluorescent Ca2+-indicator, isolated cardiomyocytes are prepared for simultaneous measurement of calcium currents and transients. Additionally, isolation pitfalls are discussed and patch-clamp protocols and representative traces of L-type calcium currents with simultaneous calcium transient measurements in atrial and ventricular murine myocytes isolated as described above are provided.