Main content area

Acoustical sensing of cardiomyocyte cluster beating

Tymchenko, Nina, Kunze, Angelika, Dahlenborg, Kerstin, Svedhem, Sofia, Steel, Daniella
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2013 v.435 pp. 520-525
acoustics, cardiomyocytes, humans, light microscopy, monitoring, optical properties, pharmaceutical industry, quartz, safety assessment, viscoelasticity
Spontaneously beating human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes clusters (CMCs) represent an excellent in vitro tool for studies of human cardiomyocyte function and for pharmacological cardiac safety assessment. Such testing typically requires highly trained operators, precision plating, or large cell quantities, and there is a demand for real-time, label-free monitoring of small cell quantities, especially rare cells and tissue-like structures. Array formats based on sensing of electrical or optical properties of cells are being developed and in use by the pharmaceutical industry. A potential alternative to these techniques is represented by the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) technique, which is an acoustic surface sensitive technique that measures changes in mass and viscoelastic properties close to the sensor surface (from nm to μm). There is an increasing number of studies where QCM-D has successfully been applied to monitor properties of cells and cellular processes. In the present study, we show that spontaneous beating of CMCs on QCM-D sensors can be clearly detected, both in the frequency and the dissipation signals. Beating rates in the range of 66–168bpm for CMCs were detected and confirmed by simultaneous light microscopy. The QCM-D beating profile was found to provide individual fingerprints of the hPS-CMCs. The presented results point towards acoustical assays for evaluation cardiotoxicity.