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1.  Experimental Assessment of the Role of Acetaldehyde in Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy 
Alcoholism is one of the major causes of non-ischemic heart damage. The myopathic state of the heart due to alcohol consumption, namely alcoholic cardiomyopathy, is manifested by cardiac hypertrophy, compromised ventricular contractility and cardiac output. Several mechanisms have been postulated for alcoholic cardiomyopathy including oxidative damage, accumulation of triglycerides, altered fatty acid extraction, decreased myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity, and impaired protein synthesis. Despite intensive efforts to unveil the mechanism and ultimate toxin responsible for alcohol-induced cardiac toxicity, neither has been clarified thus far. Primary candidates for the specific toxins are ethanol, its first and major metabolic product - acetaldehyde (ACA) and fatty acid ethyl esters. Evidence from our lab suggests that ACA directly impairs cardiac function and promotes lipid peroxidation resulting in oxidative damage. The ACA-induced cardiac contractile depression may be reconciled with inhibitors of Cytochrome P-450 oxidase, xanthine oxidase and lipid peroxidation Unfortunately, the common methods to investigate the toxicity of ACA have been hampered by the fact that direct intake of ACA is toxic and unsuitable for chronic study, which is unable to provide direct evidence of direct cardiac toxicity for ACA. In order to overcome this obstacle associated with the chemical properties of ACA, our laboratory has used the chronic ethanol feeding model in transgenic mice with cardiac over-expression of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and an in vitro ventricular myocyte culture model. The combination of both in vivo and in vitro approaches allows us to evaluate the role of ACA in ethanol-induced cardiac toxicity and certain cellular signaling pathways leading to alcoholic cardiomyopathy.
doi:10.1251/bpo41
PMCID: PMC150386  PMID: 12734561
Cardiomyopathy, alcoholic; Acetaldehyde
2.  Measurement of Cardiac Mechanical Function in Isolated Ventricular Myocytes from Rats and Mice by Computerized Video-Based Imaging 
Isolated adult cardiac ventricular myocytes have been a useful model for cardiovascular research for more than 20 years. With the recent advances in cellular physiology and transgenic techniques, direct measurement of isolated ventricular myocyte mechanics is becoming an increasingly important technique in cardiac physiology that provides fundamental information on excitation-contraction coupling of the heart, either in drug intervention or pathological states. The goal of this article is to describe the isolation of ventricular myocytes from both rats and mice, and the use of real-time beat-to-beat simultaneous recording of both myocyte contraction and intracellular Ca2+ transient.
doi:10.1251/bpo22
PMCID: PMC145545  PMID: 12734580
myocardial contraction; research design; calcium

Results 1-2 (2)