Preclinical cardiac electrophysiology assessment by dual voltage and calcium optical mapping of human organotypic cardiac slices

Sharon A. George, Jaclyn A. Brennan, Igor R. Efimov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Human cardiac slice preparations have recently been developed as a platform for human physiology studies and therapy testing to bridge the gap between animal and clinical trials. Numerous animal and cell models have been used to examine the effects of drugs, yet these responses often differ in humans. Human cardiac slices offer an advantage for drug testing in that they are directly derived from viable human hearts. In addition to having preserved multicellular structures, cell-cell coupling, and extracellular matrix environments, human cardiac tissue slices can be used to directly test the effect of innumerable drugs on adult human cardiac physiology. What distinguishes this model from other heart preparations, such as whole hearts or wedges, is that slices can be subjected to longer-term culture. As such, cardiac slices allow for studying the acute as well as chronic effects of drugs. Furthermore, the ability to collect several hundred to a thousand slices from a single heart makes this a high-throughput model to test several drugs at varying concentrations and combinations with other drugs at the same time. Slices can be prepared from any given region of the heart. In this protocol, we describe the preparation of left ventricular slices by isolating tissue cubes from the left ventricular free wall and sectioning them into slices using a high precision vibrating microtome. These slices can then either be subjected to acute experiments to measure baseline cardiac electrophysiological function or cultured for chronic drug studies. This protocol also describes dual optical mapping of cardiac slices for simultaneous recordings of transmembrane potentials and intracellular calcium dynamics to determine the effects of the drugs being investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere60781
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number160
StatePublished - Jun 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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