Excitation and injury of adult ventricular cardiomyocytes by nano- to millisecond electric shocks

Iurii Semenov, Sergey Grigoryev, Johanna U. Neuber, Christian W. Zemlin, Olga N. Pakhomova, Maura Casciola, Andrei G. Pakhomov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Intense electric shocks of nanosecond (ns) duration can become a new modality for more efficient but safer defibrillation. We extended strength-duration curves for excitation of cardiomyocytes down to 200 ns, and compared electroporative damage by proportionally more intense shocks of different duration. Enzymatically isolated murine, rabbit, and swine adult ventricular cardiomyocytes (VCM) were loaded with a Ca2+ indicator Fluo-4 or Fluo-5N and subjected to shocks of increasing amplitude until a Ca2+ transient was optically detected. Then, the voltage was increased 5-fold, and the electric cell injury was quantified by the uptake of a membrane permeability marker dye, propidium iodide. We established that: (1) Stimuli down to 200-ns duration can elicit Ca2+ transients, although repeated ns shocks often evoke abnormal responses, (2) Stimulation thresholds expectedly increase as the shock duration decreases, similarly for VCMs from different species, (3) Stimulation threshold energy is minimal for the shortest shocks, (4) VCM orientation with respect to the electric field does not affect the threshold for ns shocks, and (5) The shortest shocks cause the least electroporation injury. These findings support further exploration of ns defibrillation, although abnormal response patterns to repetitive ns stimuli are of a concern and require mechanistic analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8233
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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