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1.  Introduction of non-linear elasticity models for characterization of shape and deformation statistics: application to contractility assessment of isolated adult cardiocytes 
BMC Biophysics  2011;4:17.
We are exploring the viability of a novel approach to cardiocyte contractility assessment based on biomechanical properties of the cardiac cells, energy conservation principles, and information content measures. We define our measure of cell contraction as being the distance between the shapes of the contracting cell, assessed by the minimum total energy of the domain deformation (warping) of one cell shape into another. To guarantee a meaningful vis-à-vis correspondence between the two shapes, we employ both a data fidelity term and a regularization term. The data fidelity term is based on nonlinear features of the shapes while the regularization term enforces the compatibility between the shape deformations and that of a hyper-elastic material.
We tested the proposed approach by assessing the contractile responses in isolated adult rat cardiocytes and contrasted these measurements against two different methods for contractility assessment in the literature. Our results show good qualitative and quantitative agreements with these methods as far as frequency, pacing, and overall behavior of the contractions are concerned.
We hypothesize that the proposed methodology, once appropriately developed and customized, can provide a framework for computational cardiac cell biomechanics that can be used to integrate both theory and experiment. For example, besides giving a good assessment of contractile response of the cardiocyte, since the excitation process of the cell is a closed system, this methodology can be employed in an attempt to infer statistically significant model parameters for the constitutive equations of the cardiocytes.
PMCID: PMC3201040  PMID: 21854653
2.  Image Processing Techniques for Assessing Contractility in Isolated Neonatal Cardiac Myocytes 
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.
PMCID: PMC3151489  PMID: 21826135

Results 1-2 (2)