We describe a computational framework for the comprehensive assessment
of contractile responses of enzymatically dissociated adult cardiac myocytes. The proposed methodology comprises the following stages: digital video recording of the contracting cell, edge preserving total variation-based image
smoothing, segmentation of the smoothed images, contour extraction from the segmented images, shape representation by Fourier descriptors, and contractility assessment. The different stages are variants of mathematically
sound and computationally robust algorithms very well established in the image processing community.
The physiologic application of the methodology is evaluated by assessing overall contraction in enzymatically dissociated adult rat cardiocytes. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach in characterizing the true, two-dimensional, “shortening” in the contraction process of adult cardiocytes. We compare the performance of the proposed method to that of a popular edge detection system in the literature. The proposed method not only provides a more comprehensive assessment of the myocyte contraction process but also can potentially eliminate historical concerns and sources of errors caused by myocyte rotation or translation during contraction. Furthermore, the versatility of the image processing techniques makes the method suitable for determining myocyte shortening in cells that usually bend or move during contraction. The proposed method can be utilized to evaluate changes in contractile behavior resulting from drug intervention, disease modeling, transgeneity, or other common applications to mammalian cardiocytes.
We describe a computational framework for the quantitative assessment of contractile responses of isolated neonatal cardiac myocytes. To the best of
our knowledge, this is the first report on a practical and accessible method for the assessment of contractility in neonatal cardiocytes. The proposed methodology is comprised of digital video recording of the contracting cell, signal preparation, representation by polar Fourier descriptors, and contractility assessment. The different processing stages are variants of mathematically sound and computationally robust algorithms very well established in the scientific community. The described computational approach provides a comprehensive assessment of the neonatal cardiac myocyte contraction without the need of elaborate instrumentation. The versatility of the methodology allows it to be
employed in determining myocyte contractility almost simultaneously with the acquisition of the Ca2+ transient and other correlates of cell contraction. The proposed methodology can be utilized to evaluate changes in contractile behavior resulting from drug intervention, disease models, transgeneity, or other common applications of neonatal cardiocytes.
The cardiomyocyte cytoskeleton, composed of rigid and elastic elements, maintains the isolated cell in an elongated cylindrical shape with an elliptical cross-section, even during contraction-relaxation cycles. Cardiomyocyte mitochondria are micron-sized, fluid-filled passive spheres distributed throughout the cell in a crystal-like lattice, arranged in pairs sandwiched between the sarcomere contractile machinery, both longitudinally and radially. Their shape represents the extant 3-dimensional (3D) force-balance. We developed a novel method to examine mitochondrial 3D-deformation in response to contraction and relaxation to understand how dynamic forces are balanced inside cardiomyocytes. The variation in transmitted light intensity induced by the periodic lattice of myofilaments alternating with mitochondrial rows can be analyzed by Fourier transformation along a given cardiomyocyte axis to measure mitochondrial deformation along that axis. This technique enables precise detection of changes in dimension of ∼1% in ∼1 µm (long-axis) structures with 8 ms time-resolution. During active contraction (1 Hz stimulation), mitochondria deform along the length- and width-axes of the cell with similar deformation kinetics in both sarcomere and mitochondrial structures. However, significant deformation anisotropy (without hysteresis) was observed between the orthogonal short-axes (i.e., width and depth) of mitochondria during electrical stimulation. The same degree of deformation anisotropy was also found between the myocyte orthogonal short-axes during electrical stimulation. Therefore, the deformation of the mitochondria reflects the overall deformation of the cell, and the apparent stiffness and stress/strain characteristics of the cytoskeleton differ appreciably between the two cardiomyocyte orthogonal short-axes. This method may be applied to obtaining a better understanding of the dynamic force-balance inside cardiomyocytes and of changes in the spatial stiffness characteristics of the cytoskeleton that may accompany aging or pathological conditions.
This paper proposes an original approach for the statistical analysis of longitudinal shape data. The proposed method allows the characterization of typical growth patterns and subject-specific shape changes in repeated time-series observations of several subjects. This can be seen as the extension of usual longitudinal statistics of scalar measurements to high-dimensional shape or image data.
The method is based on the estimation of continuous subject-specific growth trajectories and the comparison of such temporal shape changes across subjects. Differences between growth trajectories are decomposed into morphological deformations, which account for shape changes independent of the time, and time warps, which account for different rates of shape changes over time.
Given a longitudinal shape data set, we estimate a mean growth scenario representative of the population, and the variations of this scenario both in terms of shape changes and in terms of change in growth speed. Then, intrinsic statistics are derived in the space of spatiotemporal deformations, which characterize the typical variations in shape and in growth speed within the studied population. They can be used to detect systematic developmental delays across subjects.
In the context of neuroscience, we apply this method to analyze the differences in the growth of the hippocampus in children diagnosed with autism, developmental delays and in controls. Result suggest that group differences may be better characterized by a different speed of maturation rather than shape differences at a given age. In the context of anthropology, we assess the differences in the typical growth of the endocranium between chimpanzees and bonobos. We take advantage of this study to show the robustness of the method with respect to change of parameters and perturbation of the age estimates.
longitudinal data; statistics; shape regression; growth; spatiotemporal registration; time warp
The role of cardiocytes in physiologic removal of apoptotic cells and the subsequent effect of surface binding by anti-SSA/Ro and -SSB/La antibodies was addressed. Initial experiments evaluated induction of apoptosis by extrinsic and intrinsic pathways. Nuclear injury and the translocation of SSA/Ro and SSB/La antigens to the fetal cardiocyte plasma membrane were common downstream events of Fas and TNF receptor ligation, requiring caspase activation. As assessed by phase-contrast and confirmed by confocal microscopy, coculturing of healthy cardiocytes with cardiocytes rendered apoptotic via extrinsic pathways revealed a clearance mechanism that to our knowledge has not previously been described. Cultured fetal cardiocytes expressed phosphatidylserine receptors (PSRs), as did cardiac tissue from a fetus with congenital heart block (CHB) and an age-matched control. Phagocytic uptake was blocked by anti-PSR antibodies and was significantly inhibited following preincubation of apoptotic cardiocytes with chicken and murine anti-SSA/Ro and -SSB/La antibodies, with IgG from an anti-SSA/Ro– and -SSB/La–positive mother of a CHB child, but not with anti–HLA class I antibody. In a murine model, anti-Ro60 bound and inhibited uptake of apoptotic cardiocytes from wild-type but not Ro60-knockout mice. Our results suggest that resident cardiocytes participate in physiologic clearance of apoptotic cardiocytes but that clearance is inhibited by opsonization via maternal autoantibodies, resulting in accumulation of apoptotic cells, promoting inflammation and subsequent scarring.
In failing hearts cardiomyocytes undergo alterations in cytoskeleton structure, contractility and viability. It is not known presently, how stress-induced changes of myofibrils correlate with markers for cell death and contractile function in cardiomyocytes. Therefore, we have studied the progression of contractile dysfunction, myofibrillar damage and cell death in cultured adult cardiomyocytes exposed to the cancer therapy doxorubicin. We demonstrate, that long-term cultured adult cardiomyocytes, a well-established model for the study of myofibrillar structure and effects of growth factors, can also be used to assess contractility and calcium handling. Adult rat ventricular myocytes (ARVM) were isolated and cultured for a total of 14 days in serum containing medium. The organization of calcium-handling proteins and myofibrillar structure in freshly isolated and in long-term cultured adult cardiomyocytes was studied by immunofluorescence and electron microscopy. Excitation contraction-coupling was analyzed by fura 2 and video edge detection in electrically paced cardiomyocytes forming a monolayer, and cell death and viability was measured by TUNEL assay, LDH release, MTT assay, and Western blot for LC3. Adult cardiomyocytes treated with Doxo showed apoptosis and necrosis only at supraclinical concentrations. Treated cells displayed merely alterations in cytoskeleton organization and integrity concomitant with contractile dysfunction and up-regulation of autophagosome formation, but no change in total sarcomeric protein content. We propose, that myofibrillar damage contributes to contractile dysfunction prior to cell death in adult cardiomyocytes exposed to clinically relevant concentrations of anthracyclines.
Cardiomyocytes; Doxorubicin; Contractility; Apoptosis; Necrosis; Autophagy
The objective of this study was to validate a deformable image registration technique, termed Hyperelastic Warping, for left ventricular strain measurement during systole using cine-gated, nontagged MR images with strains measured from tagged MRI. The technique combines deformation from high resolution, non-tagged MR image data with a detailed computational model, including estimated myocardial material properties, fiber direction, and active fiber contraction, to provide a comprehensive description of myocardial contractile function. A normal volunteer (male, age 30) with no history of cardiac pathology was imaged with a 1.5 T Siemens Avanto clinical scanner using a TrueFISP imaging sequence and a 32-channel cardiac coil. Both tagged and non-tagged cine MR images were obtained. The Hyperelastic Warping solution was evolved using a series of non-tagged images in ten intermediate phases from end-diastole to end-systole. The solution may be considered as ten separate warping problems with multiple templates and targets. At each stage, an active contraction was initially applied to a finite element model, and then image-based warping penalty forces were utilized to generate the final registration. Warping results for circumferential strain (R2 = 0.75) and radial strain (R2 = 0.78) were strongly correlated with results obtained from tagged MR images analyzed with a Harmonic Phase (HARP) algorithm. Results for fiber stretch, LV twist, and transmural strain distributions were in good agreement with experimental values in the literature. In conclusion, Hyperelastic Warping provides a unique alternative for quantifying regional LV deformation during systole without the need for tags.
Strain; Left ventricle; Systole; Deformable image registration; Soft tissue mechanics; Finite element; Magnetic resonance imaging
Simulating the brain tissue deformation caused by tumor growth has been found to aid the deformable registration of brain tumor images. In this paper we evaluate the impact that different biomechanical simulators have on the accuracy of deformable registration. We use two alternative frameworks for biomechanical simulations of mass effect in 3D MR brain images. The first one is based on a finite element model of nonlinear elasticity and unstructured meshes using the commercial software package ABAQUS. The second one employs incremental linear elasticity and regular grids in a fictitious domain method. In practice, biomechanical simulations via the second approach may be at least ten times faster. Landmarks error and visual examination of the co-registered images indicate that the two alternative frameworks for biomechanical simulations lead to comparable results of deformable registration. Thus, the computationally less expensive biomechanical simulator offers a practical alternative for registration purposes.
biomechanical model; tumor growth simulation; deformable registration; brain tumor
Simulations are useful to study the heart’s ability to generate flow and the interaction between contractility and loading conditions. The left ventricular pressure–volume (PV) relation has been shown to be nonlinear, but it is unknown whether a linear model is accurate enough for simulations. Six models were fitted to the PV-data measured in five sheep and the estimated parameters were used to simulate PV-loops. Simulated and measured PV-loops were compared with the Akaike information criterion (AIC) and the Hamming distance, a measure for geometric shape similarity. The compared models were: a time-varying elastance model with fixed volume intercept (LinFix); a time-varying elastance model with varying volume intercept (LinFree); a Langewouter’s pressure-dependent elasticity model (Langew); a sigmoidal model (Sigm); a time-varying elastance model with a systolic flow-dependent resistance (Shroff) and a model with a linear systolic and an exponential diastolic relation (Burkh). Overall, the best model is LinFree (lowest AIC), closely followed by Langew. The remaining models rank: Sigm, Shroff, LinFix and Burkh. If only the shape of the PV-loops is important, all models perform nearly identically (Hamming distance between 20 and 23%). For realistic simulation of the instantaneous PV-relation a linear model suffices.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10439-009-9742-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Time-varying elastance; Simulation model; Windkessel model; Isochrones
Moments measured by a dynamometer in biomechanics testing often include the gravitational moment and the passive elastic moment in addition to the moment caused by muscle contraction. Gravitational moments result from the weight of body segments and dynamometer attachment, whereas passive elastic moments are caused by the passive elastic deformation of tissues crossing the joint being assessed. Gravitational moments are a major potential source of error in dynamometer measurements and must be corrected for, a procedure often called gravity correction. While several approaches to gravity correction have been presented in the literature, they generally assume that the gravitational moment can be adequately modeled as a simple sine or cosine function. With this approach, a single passive data point may be used to specify the model, assuming that passive elastic moments are negligible at that point. A new method is presented here for the gravity correction of dynamometer data. Gravitational moment is represented using a generalized sinusoid, which is fit to passive data obtained over the entire joint range of motion. The model also explicitly accounts for the presence of passive elastic moments. The model was tested for cases of hip flexion-extension, knee flexion-extension, and ankle plantar flexion-dorsiflexion, and provided good fits in all cases.
isokinetic dynamometer; joint moment; gravity correction; gravitational moment; passive elastic moment
Ultrasound strain imaging using two-dimensional (2-D) speckle tracking has been proposed to quantitatively assess changes in myocardial contractility due to ischemia. Its performance must be demonstrated in a controlled model system as a step toward routine clinical application. In this study, a well-controlled 2-D cardiac elasticity imaging technique was developed using two coplanar and orthogonal linear probes simultaneously imaging an isolated retroperfused rabbit heart. Acute ischemia was generated by left anterior descending (LAD) artery ligation. An excitation-contraction decoupler, 2,3-butanedione monoxime, was applied at a 4mM concentration to reversibly reduce myocardial contractility. Results using a single probe demonstrate that directional changes in the in-plane principal deformation axes can help locate the bulging area due to LAD ligation, which matched well with corresponding Evans Blue staining, and strains, or strain magnitude, based on principal stretches can characterize heart muscle contractility. These two findings using asymmetric displacement accuracy (i.e., normal single probe measurements with good axial but poor lateral estimates) were further validated using symmetric displacement accuracy (i.e., dual probe measurements using only accurate axial tracking estimates from each). However, the accuracy of 2-D cardiac strain imaging using a single probe depends on the probe’s orientation due to the large variance in lateral displacement estimates.
cardiac strain; 2-D speckle tracking; principal stretch; Langendorff
A microsensor that can continuously measure the deformability of a single red blood cell (RBC) in its microchannels using microelectrodes is described in this paper. The time series of the electric resistance is measured using an AC current vs. voltage method as the RBC passes between counter-electrode-type micro-membrane sensors attached to the bottom wall of the microchannel. The RBC is deformed by the shear flow created in the microchannel; the degree of deformation depends on the elastic modulus of the RBC. The resistance distribution, which is unique to the shape of the RBC, is analyzed to obtain the deformability of each cell. First, a numerical simulation of the electric field around the electrodes and RBC is carried out to evaluate the influences of the RBC height position, channel height, distance between the electrodes, electrode width, and RBC shape on the sensor sensitivity. Then, a microsensor was designed and fabricated on the basis of the numerical results. Resistance measurement was carried out using samples of normal RBCs and rigidified (Ca2+–A23186 treated) RBCs. Visualization measurement of the cells' behavior was carried out using a high-speed camera, and the results were compared with those obtained above to evaluate the performance of the sensor.
red blood cell; deformability; microchannel; electric sensor; laminar flow; shear stress; Ca2+ ionophore treatment; Micro-TAS
Sera of mice chronically infected with Trypanosoma cruzi contain antibodies that bind to the surface of living adult syngeneic heart muscle cells. In a syngeneic system, with nonadherent spleen mononuclear cells as effector cells and cardiocytes as targets, antibody-dependent cytotoxicity (ADCC), revealed by the liberation of creatine phosphokinase from damaged cardiocytes, was observed after incorporation of serum samples from infected mice. Target damage was decreased after absorption with syngeneic myocardium, but absorption with T. cruzi epimastigotes or trypomastigotes or with syngeneic skeletal muscle had no effect on ADCC. No complement-dependent lysis against heart muscle cells was detected in the same serum samples. These observations indicate that serum from chronically chagasic mice contain antibodies that bind to the surface of living adult syngeneic cardiocytes and are able to exert ADCC, suggesting that they could play a role in the pathogenesis of the heart damage that occurs in Chagas' disease.
A chondrocyte and its surrounding pericellular matrix (PCM) are defined as a chondron. Single chondrocytes and chondrons isolated from bovine articular cartilage were compressed by micromanipulation between two parallel surfaces in order to investigate their biomechanical properties and to discover the mechanical significance of the PCM. The force imposed on the cells was measured directly during compression to various deformations and then holding. When the nominal strain at the end of compression was 50 per cent, force relaxation showed that the cells were viscoelastic, but this viscoelasticity was generally insignificant when the nominal strain was 30 per cent or lower. The viscoelastic behaviour might be due to the mechanical response of the cell cytoskeleton and/or nucleus at higher deformations. A finite-element analysis was applied to simulate the experimental force-displacement/time data and to obtain mechanical property parameters of the chondrocytes and chondrons. Because of the large strains in the cells, a nonlinear elastic model was used for simulations of compression to 30 per cent nominal strain and a nonlinear viscoelastic model for 50 per cent. The elastic model yielded a Young's modulus of 14 ± 1 kPa (mean ± s.e.) for chondrocytes and 19 ± 2 kPa for chondrons, respectively. The viscoelastic model generated an instantaneous elastic modulus of 21 ± 3 and 27 ± 4 kPa, a long-term modulus of 9.3 ± 0.8 and 12 ± 1 kPa and an apparent viscosity of 2.8 ± 0.5 and 3.4 ± 0.6 kPa s for chondrocytes and chondrons, respectively. It was concluded that chondrons were generally stiffer and showed less viscoelastic behaviour than chondrocytes, and that the PCM significantly influenced the mechanical properties of the cells.
chondrocyte; chondron; finite-element modelling; micromanipulation; nonlinear elasticity; viscoelasticity
Contractility of cells in wound site is important to understand pathological wound healing and develop therapeutic strategies. In particular, contractile force generated by cells is a basic element for designing artificial three-dimensional cell culture scaffolds. Direct assessment of deformation of three-dimensional structured materials has been used to calculate contractile forces by averaging total forces with respect to the cell population number. However, macroscopic methods have offered only lower bounds of contractility due to experimental assumptions and the large variance of the spatial and temporal cell response. In the present study, cell contractility was examined microscopically in order to measure contractile forces generated by individual cells on self-standing fiber scaffolds that were fabricated via femtosecond laser-induced two-photon polymerization. Experimental assumptions and calculation errors that arose in previous studies of macroscopic and microscopic contractile force measurements could be reduced by adopting a columnar buckling model on individual, standing fiber scaffolds. Via quantifying eccentric critical loads for the buckling of fibers with various diameters, contractile forces of single cells were calculated in the range between 30–116 nN. In the present study, a force magnitude of approximately 200 nN is suggested as upper bound of the contractile force exerted by single cells. In addition, contractile forces by multiple cells on a single fiber were calculated in the range between 241–709 nN.
Contraction; Fibroblast; Fiber scaffolds; Column buckling; Laser microfabrication; Two-photon polymerization
Airway smooth muscle (ASM) contraction underlies acute bronchospasm in asthma. ASM cells can switch between a synthetic-proliferative phenotype and a contractile phenotype. While the effects of extracellular matrix (ECM) components on modulation of ASM cells to a synthetic phenotype have been reported, the role of ECM components on maturation of ASM cells to a contractile phenotype in adult lung is unclear. As both changes in ECM components and accumulation of contractile ASM are features of airway wall remodelling in asthma, we examined the role of the ECM protein, laminin, in the maturation of contractile phenotype in human ASM cells.
Human ASM cells were made senescence-resistant by stable expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase. Maturation to a contractile phenotype was induced by 7-day serum deprivation, as assessed by immunoblotting for desmin and calponin. The role of laminin on ASM maturation was investigated by comparing the effects of exogenous laminin coated on culture plates, and of soluble laminin peptide competitors. Endogenous expression of laminin chains during ASM maturation was also measured.
Myocyte binding to endogenously expressed laminin was required for ASM phenotype maturation, as laminin competing peptides (YIGSR or GRGDSP) significantly reduced desmin and calponin protein accumulation that otherwise occurs with prolonged serum deprivation. Coating of plastic cell culture dishes with different purified laminin preparations was not sufficient to further promote accumulation of desmin or calponin during 7-day serum deprivation. Expression of α2, β1 and γ1 laminin chains by ASM cells was specifically up-regulated during myocyte maturation, suggesting a key role for laminin-2 in the development of the contractile phenotype.
While earlier reports suggest exogenously applied laminin slows the spontaneous modulation of ASM to a synthetic phenotype, we show for the first time that endogenously expressed laminin is required for ASM maturation to the contractile phenotype. As endogenously expressed laminin chains α2, β1 and γ1 are uniquely increased during myocyte maturation, these laminin chains may be key in this process. Thus, human ASM maturation appears to involve regulated endogenous expression of a select set of laminin chains that are essential for accumulation of contractile phenotype myocytes.
The normal RPE sheet in the C57BL/6J mouse is subclassified into two major tiling patterns: a regular generally hexagonal array covering most of the surface and a “soft network” near the ciliary body made of irregularly shaped cells. Physics models predict these two patterns based on contractility and elasticity of the RPE cell, and strength of cellular adhesion between cells.
We hypothesized and identified major changes in RPE regular hexagonal tiling pattern in rd10 compared to C57BL/6J mice.
In rd10 mice, RPE sheet damage was extensive but occurred later than expected, after most retinal degeneration was complete. RPE sheet changes occur in zones with a bullseye pattern. In the posterior zone, around the optic nerve, RPE cells take on larger irregular and varied shapes to maintain an intact monolayer. In mid periphery, RPE cells have a compressed or convoluted morphology that progress into ingrown layers of RPE under the retina. Cells in the periphery maintain their shape and size until the late stages of the RPE reorganization. The number of neighboring cells varies widely depending on zone and progression. RPE morphology continues to deteriorate after the photoreceptors have degenerated.
The RPE cells are bystanders to photoreceptor degeneration in the rd10 model, and the collateral damage to the RPE results in changes in morphology as early as 30 days old. Quantitative measures of the tiling patterns and histopathology detected here were scripted in a pipeline written in Perl and Cell Profiler (an open source MatLab plugin) and are directly applicable to RPE sheet images from noninvasive fundus autofluorescence (FAF), adaptive optics confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AO-cSLO), and spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) of patients with early stage AMD or RP.
During morphogenesis of the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo, hypodermal (or epidermal) cells migrate to enclose the embryo in an epithelium and, subsequently, change shape coordinately to elongate the body (Priess, J.R., and D.I. Hirsh. 1986. Dev. Biol. 117:156– 173; Williams-Masson, E.M., A.N. Malik, and J. Hardin. 1997. Development [Camb.]. 124:2889–2901). We have isolated mutants defective in morphogenesis that identify three genes required for both cell migration during body enclosure and cell shape change during body elongation. Analyses of hmp-1, hmp-2, and hmr-1 mutants suggest that products of these genes anchor contractile actin filament bundles at the adherens junctions between hypodermal cells and, thereby, transmit the force of bundle contraction into cell shape change. The protein products of all three genes localize to hypodermal adherens junctions in embryos. The sequences of the predicted HMP-1, HMP-2, and HMR-1 proteins are related to the cell adhesion proteins α-catenin, β-catenin/Armadillo, and classical cadherin, respectively. This putative catenin–cadherin system is not essential for general cell adhesion in the C. elegans embryo, but rather mediates specific aspects of morphogenetic cell shape change and cytoskeletal organization.
Dimers in microtubules possess a dipole moment with components along three axes. The interaction energy among all dipole components in a microtubule was calculated for an un-deformed and an elliptically deformed microtubule in a “dry” condition. The interaction energy was found to increase with deformation. The total interaction energy among all dipoles is positive, which implies that the un-deformed cylindrical shape of a microtubule represents a condition of minimum energy. This suggests that the cylindrical shape of microtubules is a consequence of dipole–dipole interactions. There may be other causes as well but these are not discussed in this paper. From these results, the contributions of the dipole–dipole interaction energy to the microtubule longitudinal and transverse flexural rigidities were calculated. It is shown that the longitudinal contribution to the elastic modulus is approximately 50–60% of the total measured value while the calculated transverse contribution is smaller than the longitudinal contribution by a factor of approximately 3. The ratio of the measured axial to the measured transverse flexural rigidity is approximately 125, in agreement with recent observations. However, these values are uncertain for reasons discussed in the text.
microtubule; dipoles; interactions; elastic properties
Excitation of muscle often leads to a net loss of cellular K+ and a rise in extracellular K+ ([ K+ ]o), which in turn inhibits excitability and contractility. It is important, therefore, to determine how this K+ is cleared by diffusion into the surroundings or by reaccumulation into the muscle cells. The inhibitory effects of the rise in [K+ ]o may be assessed from the time course of changes in tetanic force in isolated muscles where diffusional clearance of K+ is eliminated by removing the incubation medium and allowing the muscles to contract in air. Measurements of tetanic force, endurance, and force recovery showed that in rat soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles there was no significant difference between the performance of muscles contracting in buffer or in air for up to 8 min. Ouabain-induced inhibition of K+ clearance via the Na+,K+ pumps markedly reduced contractile endurance and force recovery in air. Incubation in buffer containing 10 mM K+ clearly inhibited force development and endurance, and these effects were considerably reduced by stimulating Na+,K+ pumps with the β2-agonist salbutamol. Following 30–60 s of continuous stimulation at 60 Hz, the amount of K+ released into the extracellular space was assessed from washout experiments. The release of intracellular K+ per pulse was fourfold larger in EDL than in soleus, and in the two muscles, the average [K+ ]o reached 52.4 and 26.0 mM, respectively, appreciably higher than previously detected. In conclusion, prevention of diffusion of K+ from the extracellular space of isolated working muscles causes only modest interference with contractile performance. The Na+,K+ pumps play a major role in the clearance of K+ and the maintenance of force. This new information is important for the evaluation of K+-induced inhibition in muscles, where diffusional clearance of K+ is reduced by tension development sufficient to suppress circulation.
Articular cartilage chondrocytes are responsible for the synthesis, maintenance, and turnover of the extracellular matrix, metabolic processes that contribute to the mechanical properties of these cells. Here, we systematically evaluated the effect of age and cytoskeletal disruptors on the mechanical properties of chondrocytes as a function of deformation. We quantified the indentation-dependent mechanical properties of chondrocytes isolated from neonatal (1-day), adult (5-year) and geriatric (12-year) bovine knees using atomic force microscopy (AFM). We also measured the contribution of the actin and intermediate filaments to the indentation-dependent mechanical properties of chondrocytes. By integrating AFM with confocal fluorescent microscopy, we monitored cytoskeletal and biomechanical deformation in transgenic cells (GFP-vimentin and mCherry-actin) under compression. We found that the elastic modulus of chondrocytes in all age groups decreased with increased indentation (15–2000 nm). The elastic modulus of adult chondrocytes was significantly greater than neonatal cells at indentations greater than 500 nm. Viscoelastic moduli (instantaneous and equilibrium) were comparable in all age groups examined; however, the intrinsic viscosity was lower in geriatric chondrocytes than neonatal. Disrupting the actin or the intermediate filament structures altered the mechanical properties of chondrocytes by decreasing the elastic modulus and viscoelastic properties, resulting in a dramatic loss of indentation-dependent response with treatment. Actin and vimentin cytoskeletal structures were monitored using confocal fluorescent microscopy in transgenic cells treated with disruptors, and both treatments had a profound disruptive effect on the actin filaments. Here we show that disrupting the structure of intermediate filaments indirectly altered the configuration of the actin cytoskeleton. These findings underscore the importance of the cytoskeletal elements in the overall mechanical response of chondrocytes, indicating that intermediate filament integrity is key to the non-linear elastic properties of chondrocytes. This study improves our understanding of the mechanical properties of articular cartilage at the single cell level.
Pericytes surround capillary endothelial cells and exert contractile forces modulating microvascular tone and endothelial growth. We previously described pericyte contractile phenotype to be Rho GTPase- and α–smooth muscle actin (αSMA)-dependent. However, mechanisms mediating adhesion-dependent shape changes and contractile force transduction remain largely equivocal. We now report that the neutral cysteine protease, calpain, modulates pericyte contractility and cellular stiffness via talin, an integrin-binding and F-actin associating protein. Digital imaging and quantitative analyses of living cells reveal significant perturbations in contractile force transduction detected via deformation of silicone substrata, as well as perturbations of mechanical stiffness in cellular contractile subdomains quantified via atomic force microscope (AFM)-enabled nanoindentation. Pericytes overexpressing GFP-tagged talin show significantly enhanced contractility (~two-fold), which is mitigated when either the calpain-cleavage resistant mutant talin L432G or vinculin are expressed. Moreover, the cell-penetrating, calpain specific inhibitor termed CALPASTAT reverses talin-enhanced, but not Rho GTP-dependent, contractility. Interestingly, our analysis revealed that CALPASTAT, but not its inactive mutant, alters contractile cell-driven substrata deformations while increasing mechanical stiffness of subcellular contractile regions of these pericytes. Altogether, our results reveal that calpain-dependent cleavage of talin modulates cell contractile dynamics, which in pericytes may prove instrumental in controlling normal capillary function or microvascular pathophysiology.
AFM; Actin; Angiogenesis; Capillary; Cytoskeleton; Cell Shape; Extracellular Matrix; Diabetic Retinopathy; Focal Adhesions; Macular Degeneration; Mechanotransduction
A novel asymptotic approach to the theory of non-homogeneous anisotropic plates is suggested. For the problem of linear static deformations we consider solutions, which are slowly varying in the plane of the plate in comparison to the thickness direction. A small parameter is introduced in the general equations of the theory of elasticity. According to the procedure of asymptotic splitting, the principal terms of the series expansion of the solution are determined from the conditions of solvability for the minor terms. Three-dimensional conditions of compatibility make the analysis more efficient and straightforward. We obtain the system of equations of classical Kirchhoff’s plate theory, including the balance equations, compatibility conditions, elastic relations and kinematic relations between the displacements and strain measures. Subsequent analysis of the edge layer near the contour of the plate is required in order to satisfy the remaining boundary conditions of the three-dimensional problem. Matching of the asymptotic expansions of the solution in the edge layer and inside the domain provides four classical plate boundary conditions. Additional effects, like electromechanical coupling for piezoelectric plates, can easily be incorporated into the model due to the modular structure of the analysis. The results of the paper constitute a sound basis to the equations of the theory of classical plates with piezoelectric effects, and provide a trustworthy algorithm for computation of the stressed state in the three-dimensional problem. Numerical and analytical studies of a sample electromechanical problem demonstrate the asymptotic nature of the present theory.
Asymptotic splitting; Boundary conditions; Edge layer; Piezoelectric plates
Being one of the world’s neglected diseases, Chagas has neither a vaccine nor a satisfactory therapy. Inoculation of murine models with the ganglioside GM1 has shown a strikingly nonlinear effect, leading to a strong decrease in parasite load at low doses but reverting to a load increase at high doses. Cardiocyte destruction concomitant with the disease is also significantly reduced by a moderate application of GM1. A mathematical model for the interaction between the parasite and the immune system is shown to explain these effects and is used to predict an optimal dosage that maximizes parasite removal with minimal cardiocyte destruction.
Traditional deformable image registration imposes a uniform smoothness constraint on the deformation field. This is not appropriate when registering images visualizing organs that slide relative to each other, and therefore leads to registration inaccuracies. In this paper, we present a deformation field regularization term that is based on anisotropic diffusion and accommodates the deformation field discontinuities that are expected when considering sliding motion. The registration algorithm was assessed first using artificial images of geometric objects. In a second validation, monomodal chest images depicting both respiratory and cardiac motion were generated using an anatomically-realistic software phantom and then registered. Registration accuracy was assessed based on the distances between corresponding segmented organ surfaces. Compared to an established diffusive regularization approach, the anisotropic diffusive regularization gave deformation fields that represented more plausible image correspondences, while giving rise to similar transformed moving images and comparable registration accuracy.
Deformable image registration; regularization; sliding organs; medical imaging