JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In





Representative Results






Advanced Cardiac Rhythm Management by Applying Optogenetic Multi-Site Photostimulation in Murine Hearts

Published: August 26th, 2021



1Research Group Biomedical Physics, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, 2Research Electronics Department, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, 3Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Medical Center Goettingen, 4Institute for Nonlinear Dynamics, Georg-August-University Goettingen, 5Department of Cardiology and Pneumology, University Medical Center Goettingen, 6German Center for Cardiovascular Research, DZHK e.V., partner site Goettingen, 7Laboratory Animal Science Unit, German Primate Center Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, 8Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK), University of Freiburg, 9Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools, University of Freiburg
* These authors contributed equally

This work reports a method for controlling the cardiac rhythm of intact murine hearts of transgenic channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) mice using local photostimulation with a micro-LED array and simultaneous optical mapping of epicardial membrane potential.

Ventricular tachyarrhythmias are a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Electrical defibrillation using high-energy electric shocks is currently the only treatment for life-threatening ventricular fibrillation. However, defibrillation may have side-effects, including intolerable pain, tissue damage, and worsening of prognosis, indicating a significant medical need for the development of more gentle cardiac rhythm management strategies. Besides energy-reducing electrical approaches, cardiac optogenetics was introduced as a powerful tool to influence cardiac activity using light-sensitive membrane ion channels and light pulses. In the present study, a robust and valid method for successful photostimulation of Langendorff perfused intact murine hearts will be described based on multi-site pacing applying a 3 x 3 array of micro light-emitting diodes (micro-LED). Simultaneous optical mapping of epicardial membrane voltage waves allows the investigation of the effects of region-specific stimulation and evaluates the newly induced cardiac activity directly on-site. The obtained results show that the efficacy of defibrillation is strongly dependent on the parameters chosen for photostimulation during a cardiac arrhythmia. It will be demonstrated that the illuminated area of the heart plays a crucial role for termination success as well as how the targeted control of cardiac activity during illumination for modifying arrhythmia patterns can be achieved. In summary, this technique provides a possibility to optimize the on-site mechanism manipulation on the way to real-time feedback control of cardiac rhythm and, regarding the region specificity, new approaches in reducing the potential harm to the cardiac system compared to the usage of non-specific electrical shock applications.

Early investigations of the spatial-temporal dynamics during arrhythmia revealed that the complex electrical patterns during cardiac fibrillation are driven by vortex-like rotating excitation waves1. This finding gave new insights into the underlying mechanisms of arrhythmias, which then led to the development of novel electrical termination therapies based on multi-site excitation of the myocardium2,3,4. However, treatments using electric field stimulation are non-local and may innervate all surrounding excitable cells, including muscle tissue, causin....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

All experiments strictly followed the animal welfare regulation, in agreement with German legislation, local stipulations, and in accordance with recommendations of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA). The application for approval of animal experiments has been approved by the responsible animal welfare authority, and all experiments were reported to our animal welfare representatives.

1. Experiment preparation and materials

  1. Optical mapping se.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The protocol allows the induction of ventricular arrhythmias in intact murine hearts using photostimulation pulses generated by LED 1 and LED 2 (Figure 1) with a frequency find between 25 Hz and 35 Hz and a pulse duration Wind between 2 ms and 10 ms. Please notice that the aim of such rapid light pulses is not to capture the cardiac rhythm but rather to unbalance the cardiac activity so that erratic electrical waves can be generated, which then facilitate an arrhythmia........

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

A successful treatment of cardiac tachyarrhythmias is key to cardiac therapy. However, the biophysical mechanisms underlying arrhythmia initiation, perpetuation and termination are not fully understood. Therefore, cardiac research aims to optimize electrical shock therapy towards a more gentle termination of arrhythmias, thereby increasing the quality of life of patients28,29,30,31. Low energy .......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The authors would like to thank Marion Kunze and Tina Althaus for their excellent technical support during experiments. The research leading to the results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement number HEALTH-F2-2009-241526. Support was also provided by the German Center for Cardiovascular Research, DZHK e.V. (Project MD28), partner site Goettingen, the German Research Foundation CRC 1002 (project C03), and the Max Planck Society. This work was partly supported by BrainLinks-BrainTools, Cluster of Excellence funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, grant number EXC 1086).


Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Chemical Components
Blebbistatin TargetMol T6038 10 mM stock solution
BSA/Albumin Sigma-Aldrich A4919
Calcium Chloride Sigma-Aldrich C1016 CaCl2
Carbogen Westfalen 50 l bottle
DI-4-ANBDQPQ AAT Bioquest 21499 Dye for Optical Mapping
Glucose Sigma-Aldrich D9434 C6H12O6
Heparin LEO Pharma Heparin-Natrium Leo 25.000 I.E./5 ml, available only on prescription
Hydrochlorid Acid Merck 1.09057.1000 HCl, 1 M stock solution
Isoflurane CP Pharma 1 ml/ml, available only on prescription
Magnesium Chloride Merck 8.14733.0500 MgCl2
Monopotassium Phosphate Sigma-Aldrich 30407 KH2PO4
Pinacidil monohydrate Sigma-Aldrich P154-500mg 10 mM stock solution
Potassium Chloride Sigma-Aldrich P5405 KCl
Sodium Bicarbonate Sigma-Aldrich S5761 NaHCO3
Sodium Chloride Sigma-Aldrich S5886 NaCl
Sodium Hydroxide Merck 1.09137.1000 NaOH, 1 M stock solution
Electrical Setup
Biopac MP150 Biopac Systems MP150WSW data acquisition and analysis system
Custom-built ECG, alternative ECG100C Biopac Systems ECG100C Electrocardiogram Amplifier
Custom-built water bath heater using heating cable RMS Heating System HK-5,0-12 Heating cable 120W
Hexagonal water bath
LED Driver Power supply Thorlabs KPS101 15 V, 2.4 A Power Supply Unit with 3.5 mm Jack Connector for One K- or T-Cube.
LEDD1B LED Driver Thorlabs LEDD1B T-Cube LED Driver, 1200 mA Max Drive Current
MAP, ECG Electrode Hugo Sachs Elektronik BS4 73-0200 Mini-ECG Electrode for isoalted hearts
micro-LED Driver e.g. AFG Agilent Instruments A-2230 Arbitrary function generator (AFG)
Signal Generator Agilent Instruments A-2230 AFG
micro-LED Array Components
Epoxid glue Epoxy Technology EPO-TEK 353ND Two component epoxy
Fluoropolymer  Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. Cytop 809M Fluoropolymer with high transparency
Image reversal photoresist Merck KGaA AZ 5214E Image Reversal Resist for High Resolution
LED chip  Cree Inc. C460TR2227-S2100 Blue micro-LED
Photoresist Merck KGaA AZ 9260 Thick Positive Photoresists
Polyimide UBE Industries Ltd. U-Varnish S Polyimide Solution
Silicone NuSil Technology LLC MED-6215 Low viscosity silicone elastomer
Solvent free adhesive John P. Kummer GmbH Epo-Tek 301-2 Epoxy resin with low viscosity
Optical Mapping
Blue Filter Chroma Technology Corporation ET470/40x Blue excitation filter
Camera Photometrics Cascade 128+ High performance EMCCD Camera
Camera Objective Navitar DO-5095 Navitar high speed fixed focal length lenses work with CCD and CMOS cameras
Dichroic Mirror Semrock FF685-Di02-25x36 685 nm edge BrightLine® single-edge standard epi-fluorescence dichroic beamsplitter
Emmision Filter Semrock FF01-775/140-25 775/140 nm BrightLine® single-band bandpass filter
Heatsink Advanced Thermal Solutions ATSEU-077A-C3-R0 Heat Sinks - LED STAR LED Heatsink, 45mm dia., 68mm, Black/Silver, Unthreaded Baseplate Hardware
LED 1 and LED 2 LED Engin Osram LZ4-00B208 High Power LEDs - Single Colour Blue, 460 nm 130 lm, 700mA
LED 3 Thorlabs M625L3 625 nm, 700 mW (Min) Mounted LED, 1000 mA
Lenses LED Engin Osram LLNF-2T06-H LED Lighting Lenses Assemblies LZ4 LENS NARROW FLOOD BEAM
Photodiode for power meter Thorlabs S120VC Standard Photodiode Power Sensor
Power Meter Thorlabs PM100D Compact Power and Energy Meter
Red Filter Semrock FF02-628/40-25 BrightLine® single-band bandpass filter

  1. Davidenko, J. M., Pertsov, A. V., Salamonsz, R. Stationary and drifting spiral waves of excitation in isolated cardiac muscle. Nature. 355, 349-351 (1992).
  2. Fenton, F. H., et al. Termination of atrial fibrillation using pulsed low-energy far-field stimulation. Circulation. 120 (6), 467-476 (2009).
  3. Luther, S., et al. Low-energy control of electrical turbulence in the heart. Nature. 475, 235-239 (2011).
  4. Pumir, A., et al. Wave emission from heterogeneities opens a way to controlling chaos in the heart. Physical Review Letters. 99, 208101 (2007).
  5. Deisseroth, K. Optogenetics. Nature Methods. 8, 26-29 (2011).
  6. Boyden, E. S., Zhang, F., Bamberg, E., Nagel, G., Deisseroth, K. Millisecond-timescale, genetically targeted optical control of neural activity. Nature Neuroscience. 8, 1263-1268 (2005).
  7. Nagel, G., et al. Channelrhodopsin-2, a directly light-gated cation-selective membrane channel. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 100 (24), 13940-13945 (2003).
  8. Bruegmann, T., et al. Optogenetic control of heart muscle in vitro and in vivo. Nature Methods. 7, 897-900 (2010).
  9. Natasha, G., et al. et al.Channelrhodopsins: visual regeneration and neural activation by a light switch. New Biotechnology. 30 (5), 461-474 (2013).
  10. Zhang, F., et al. Multimodal fast optical interrogation of neural circuitry. Nature. 446, 633-639 (2007).
  11. Alilain, W. J., et al. Light-induced rescue of breathing after spinal cord injury. Journal of Neuroscience. 28 (46), 11862-11870 (2008).
  12. Ahmad, A., Ashraf, S., Komai, S. Optogenetics applications for treating spinal cord injury. Asian Spine Journal. 9 (2), 299-305 (2015).
  13. Dieter, A., Keppeler, D., Moser, T. Towards the optical cochlear implant: Optogenetic approaches for hearing restoration. EMBO Molecular Medicine. 12 (4), e11618 (2020).
  14. Keppeler, D., et al. Multichannel optogenetic stimulation of the auditory pathway using microfabricated LED cochlear implants in rodents. Science Translational Medicine. 12 (553), eabb8086 (2020).
  15. Verhoefen, M. K., Bamann, C., Blöcher, R., Förster, U., Bamberg, E. The photocycle of channelrhodopsin-2: ultrafast reaction dynamics and subsequent reaction steps. ChemPhysChem. 11 (14), 3113-3122 (2010).
  16. Schwaerzle, M., Elmlinger, P., Paul, O., Ruther, P. Miniaturized tool for optogenetics based on an LED and an optical fiber interfaced by a silicon housing. , 5252-5255 (2014).
  17. Schwaerzle, M., Elmlinger, P., Paul, O., Ruther, P. Miniaturized 3 x 3 optical fiber array for optogenetics with integrated 460 nm light sources and flexible electrical interconnection. , 162-165 (2015).
  18. Diaz-Maue, L., Schwaerzle, M., Ruther, P., Luther, S., Richter, C. Follow the light - From low-energy defibrillation to multi-site photostimulation. , 4832-4835 (2018).
  19. Zgierski-Johnston, C., et al. Cardiac pacing using transmural multi-LED probes in channelrhodopsin-expressing mouse hearts. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. , 51-61 (2020).
  20. ., LED Engin, [Online] Available from: (2020)
  21. ., thorlabs, [Online] Available from: (2020)
  22. Bruegmann, T., et al. Optogenetic defibrillation terminates ventricular arrhythmia in mouse hearts and human simulations. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 126 (10), 3894-3904 (2016).
  23. Richter, C., Christoph, J., Lehnart, S. E., Luther, S. Optogenetic light crafting tools for the control of cardiac arrhythmias. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1408, 293-302 (2016).
  24. Quiñonez Uribe, R. A., Luther, S., Diaz-Maue, L., Richter, C. Energy-reduced arrhythmia termination using global photostimulation in optogenetic murine hearts. Frontiers in Physiology. 9 (1651), (2018).
  25. Moreno, I. LED irradiance pattern at short distances. Applied Optics. 59 (1), 190-195 (2020).
  26. Behrend, A., Bittihn, P., Luther, S. Predicting unpinning success rates for a pinned spiral in an excitable medium. , 345-348 (2010).
  27. Kappadan, V., et al. High-resolution optical measurement of cardiac restitution, contraction, and fibrillation dynamics in beating vs. blebbistatin-uncoupled isolated rabbit hearts. Frontiers in Physiology. 11 (464), (2020).
  28. Christoph, J., et al. Electromechanical vortex filaments during cardiac fibrillation. Nature. 555, 667-672 (2018).
  29. O'Shea, C. Cardiac optogenetics and optical mapping - Overcoming spectral congestion in all-optical cardiac electrophysiology. Frontiers in Physiology. 10 (182), (2019).
  30. Aras, K. K., Faye, N. R., Cathey, B., Efimov, I. R. Critical volume of human myocardium necessary to maintain ventricular fibrillation. Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. 11 (11), e006692 (2018).
  31. Trayanova, N., Doshi, A. N., Prakosa, A. How personalized heart modeling can help treatment of lethal arrhythmias: A focus on ventricular tachycardia ablation strategies in post-infarction patients. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews in System Biology and Medicine. 12 (3), 1477 (2020).
  32. Bingen, B., et al. Light-induced termination of spiral wave arrhythmias by optogenetic engineering of atrial cardiomyocytes. Cardiovascular Research. 104 (1), 194-205 (2014).
  33. Burton, R. A. B., et al. Optical control of excitation waves in cardiac tissue. Nature Photonics. 9 (12), 813-816 (2015).
  34. Dura, M., Schröder-Schetelig, J., Luther, S., Lehnart, S. E. Toward panoramic in situ mapping of action potential propagation in transgenic hearts to investigate initiation and therapeutic control of arrhythmias. Frontiers in Physiology. 5, 337 (2014).
  35. Crocini, C., et al. Optogenetics design of mechanistically-based stimulation patterns for cardiac defibrillation. Science Reports. 6 (35628), (2016).
  36. Nyns, E. C. A., et al. Optogenetic termination of ventricular arrhythmias in the whole heart: towards biological cardiac rhythm management. European Heart Journal. 38 (27), 2132-2136 (2017).
  37. Wilde, A. A. K+atp channel opening and arrhythmogenesis. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. 24 (4), 35-40 (1994).
  38. Christoph, J., Luther, S. Marker-free tracking for motion artifact compensation and deformation measurements in optical mapping videos of contracting hearts. Frontiers in Physiology. 9 (1483), (2018).
  39. Christoph, J., Schröder-Schetelig, J., Luther, S. Electromechanical optical mapping. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. 130(B), 150-169 (2017).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo


Terms of Use





Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved