Isolation of Atrial Myocytes from Adult Mice.


Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, Department of Cardiac Sciences, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary; [Email]


The electrophysiological properties of atrial myocytes importantly affect overall cardiac function. Alterations in the underlying ionic currents responsible for the action potential can cause pro-arrhythmic substrates that underlie arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, which are highly prevalent in many conditions and disease states. Isolating adult mouse atrial cardiomyocytes for use in patch-clamp experiments has greatly advanced our knowledge and understanding of the cellular electrophysiology in the healthy atrial myocardium and in the setting of atrial pathophysiology. In addition, studies using genetic mouse models have elucidated the role of a vast array of proteins in regulating atrial electrophysiology. Here we provide a detailed protocol for the isolation of cardiomyocytes from the atrial appendages of adult mice using a combination of enzymatic digestion and mechanical dissociation of these tissues. This approach consistently and reliably yields isolated atrial cardiomyocytes that can then be used to characterize cellular electrophysiology by measuring action potentials and ionic currents in patch-clamp experiments under a number of experimental conditions.

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