Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Embryonic heart paced with laser

Date:
August 16, 2010
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
Scientists have found that pulsed infrared light can pace contractions in an avian embryonic heart, with no apparent damage to the tissue.

Scientists have found that pulsed light can pace contractions in an avian embryonic heart, with no apparent damage to the tissue.
Credit: Image courtesy of Case Western Reserve University

Love, exercise and, new research shows, an infrared laser can make a heart beat faster.

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University and Vanderbilt University found that pulsed light can pace contractions in an avian embryonic heart, with no apparent damage to the tissue. The work was published in the advanced online issue of Nature Photonics on Aug. 15, 2010.

According to the scientists, this non-invasive device may prove an effective tool in understanding how environmental factors that alter an embryo's heart rate lead to congenital defects. It may also lead to investigations of cardiac electrophysiology at the cellular, tissue and organ levels, and possibly the development of a new generation of pacemakers.

"The mechanisms behind many congenital defects are not well known. But, there is a suspicion that when the early embryonic heart beats slower or faster than normal, that changes gene regulation and changes development," said Michael Jenkins, a postdoctoral researcher in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve.

"If we can precisely control pacing, we could figure out how structure, function and gene expression all work together," said Michiko Watanabe, PhD, professor of pediatrics, genetics and anatomy at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

Jenkins came up with the idea to try the infrared laser on an embryonic heart. He stumbled on an obscure paper from the 1960s in which researchers found that continuous exposure to visible light accelerated the heart rate of an embryonic chicken. He also knew of the success that Eric D. "Duco" Jansen, a professor of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, had using an infrared laser to stimulate nerves. He then hypothesized that pulsed infrared light may enable pacing of the embryonic heart.

Case Western Reserve explained the proposed experiment to Jansen, who agreed to collaborate.

How does the laser make the heart beat?

The investigators believe a pulse of infrared light creates a temperature gradient in heart tissue that opens ion channels in a cascade along a heart cell. This effect spurs along an electrical impulse that makes the heart contract.

It's early in the research, "but we think this has exciting implications, especially if we can extend this into the adult heart," said Andrew Rollins, professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve.

Rollins' lab is now experimenting with adult heart tissue, to determine whether the laser could be used as an implantable pacemaker or to pace an adult heart during surgery or other clinical work.

Watanabe, who specializes in heart development and has studied heart conduction in the developing heart, said the findings could lead to the development of a pacemaker for a child's or baby's heart or even in utero. However, many more studies have to be done to show it would work and be safe. In a young heart, electrodes can cause damage and long term use of traditional pacemakers can lead to heart failure, she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jenkins et al. Optical pacing of the embryonic heart. Nature Photonics, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2010.166

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Embryonic heart paced with laser." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100815162132.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2010, August 16). Embryonic heart paced with laser. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100815162132.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Embryonic heart paced with laser." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100815162132.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins