Optogenetics enables real-time spatiotemporal control over spiral wave dynamics in an excitable cardiac system.
ABSTRACT: Propagation of non-linear waves is key to the functioning of diverse biological systems. Such waves can organize into spirals, rotating around a core, whose properties determine the overall wave dynamics. Theoretically, manipulation of a spiral wave core should lead to full spatiotemporal control over its dynamics. However, this theory lacks supportive evidence (even at a conceptual level), making it thus a long-standing hypothesis. Here, we propose a new phenomenological concept that involves artificially dragging spiral waves by their cores, to prove the aforementioned hypothesis in silico, with subsequent in vitro validation in optogenetically modified monolayers of rat atrial cardiomyocytes. We thereby connect previously established, but unrelated concepts of spiral wave attraction, anchoring and unpinning to demonstrate that core manipulation, through controlled displacement of heterogeneities in excitable media, allows forced movement of spiral waves along pre-defined trajectories. Consequently, we impose real-time spatiotemporal control over spiral wave dynamics in a biological system.
Project description:Rotating spiral waves of electrical activity in the heart can anchor to unexcitable tissue (an obstacle) and become stable pinned waves. A pinned rotating wave can be unpinned either by a local electrical stimulus applied close to the spiral core, or by an electric field pulse that excites the core of a pinned wave independently of its localization. The wave will be unpinned only when the pulse is delivered inside a narrow time interval called the unpinning window (UW) of the spiral. In experiments with cardiac monolayers, we found that other obstacles situated near the pinning centre of the spiral can facilitate unpinning. In numerical simulations, we found increasing or decreasing of the UW depending on the location, orientation and distance between the pinning centre and an obstacle. Our study indicates that multiple obstacles could contribute to unpinning in experiments with intact hearts.
Project description:Spirals or scroll waves pinned to heterogeneities in cardiac tissues may cause lethal arrhythmias. To unpin these life-threatening spiral waves, methods of wave emission from heterogeneities (WEH) induced by low-voltage pulsed DC electric fields (PDCEFs) and circularly polarized electric fields (CPEFs) have been used in two-dimensional (2D) cardiac tissues. Nevertheless, the unpinning of scroll waves in three-dimensional (3D) cardiac systems is much more difficult than that of spiral waves in 2D cardiac systems, and there are few reports on the removal of pinned scroll waves in 3D cardiac tissues by electric fields. In this article, we investigate in detail the removal of pinned scroll waves in a generic model of 3D excitable media using PDCEF, AC electric field (ACEF) and CPEF, respectively. We find that spherical waves can be induced from the heterogeneities by these electric fields in initially quiescent excitable media. However, only CPEF can induce spherical waves with frequencies higher than that of the pinned scroll wave. Such higher-frequency spherical waves induced by CPEF can be used to drive the pinned scroll wave out of the cardiac systems. We hope this remarkable ability of CPEF can provide a better alternative to terminate arrhythmias caused by pinned scroll waves.
Project description:Spatiotemporal pattern formation governs dynamics and functions in various biological systems. In the heart, excitable waves can form complex oscillatory and chaotic patterns even at an abnormally higher frequency than normal heart beats, which increase the risk of fatal heart conditions by inhibiting normal blood circulation. Previous studies suggested that line defects (nodal lines) play a critical role in stabilizing those undesirable patterns. However, it remains unknown if the line defects are static or dynamically changing structures in heart tissue. Through in vitro experiments of heart tissue observation, we reveal the spatiotemporal dynamics of line defects in rotating spiral waves. We combined a novel signaling over-sampling technique with a multi-dimensional Fourier analysis, showing that line defects can translate, merge, collapse and form stable singularities with even and odd parity while maintaining a stable oscillation of the spiral wave in the tissue. These findings provide insights into a broad class of complex periodic systems, with particular impact to the control and understanding of heart diseases.
Project description:Traveling patterns of neuronal activity-brain waves-have been observed across a breadth of neuronal recordings, states of awareness, and species, but their emergence in the human brain lacks a firm understanding. Here we analyze the complex nonlinear dynamics that emerge from modeling large-scale spontaneous neural activity on a whole-brain network derived from human tractography. We find a rich array of three-dimensional wave patterns, including traveling waves, spiral waves, sources, and sinks. These patterns are metastable, such that multiple spatiotemporal wave patterns are visited in sequence. Transitions between states correspond to reconfigurations of underlying phase flows, characterized by nonlinear instabilities. These metastable dynamics accord with empirical data from multiple imaging modalities, including electrical waves in cortical tissue, sequential spatiotemporal patterns in resting-state MEG data, and large-scale waves in human electrocorticography. By moving the study of functional networks from a spatially static to an inherently dynamic (wave-like) frame, our work unifies apparently diverse phenomena across functional neuroimaging modalities and makes specific predictions for further experimentation.
Project description:Spatiotemporal wave activities in excitable heart tissues have long been the subject of numerous studies because they underlie different forms of cardiac arrhythmias. In particular, understanding the dynamics and the instabilities of spiral waves have become very important because they can cause reentrant tachycardia and their subsequent transitions to fibrillation. Although many aspects of cardiac spiral waves have been investigated through experiments and model simulations, their complex properties are far from well understood. Here, we show that intriguing complex-periodic (such as period-2, period-3, period-4, or aperiodic) spiral wave states can arise in monolayer tissues of cardiac cell culture in vitro, and demonstrate that these different dynamic states can coexist with abrupt and spontaneous transitions among them without any change in system parameters; in other words, the medium supports multistability. Based on extensive image data analysis, we have confirmed that these spiral waves are driven by their tips tracing complex orbits whose unusual, meandering shapes are formed by delicate interplay between localized conduction blocks and nonlinear properties of the culture medium.
Project description:Spiral waves are shown to undergo directional drifts in the presence of ac and polarized electric fields when their frequencies are twice of the spiral frequencies. Here, we propose a quantitative description for the spiral wave drift induced by weak electric fields, and provide the explicit equations for the spiral wave drift speed and direction. Numerical simulations are performed to demonstrate the quantitative agreement with analytical results in both weakly and highly excitable media.
Project description:Spiral waves anchored to obstacles in cardiac tissues may cause lethal arrhythmia. To unpin these anchored spirals, comparing to high-voltage side-effect traditional therapies, wave emission from heterogeneities (WEH) induced by the uniform electric field (UEF) has provided a low-voltage alternative. Here we provide a new approach using WEH induced by the circularly polarized electric field (CPEF), which has higher success rate and larger application scope than UEF, even with a lower voltage. And we also study the distribution of the membrane potential near an obstacle induced by CPEF to analyze its mechanism of unpinning. We hope this promising approach may provide a better alternative to terminate arrhythmia.
Project description:Regular electrical activation waves in cardiac tissue lead to the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the heart that ensures blood supply to the whole body. Irregularities in the propagation of these activation waves can result in cardiac arrhythmias, like ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF), which are major causes of death in the industrialised world. Indeed there is growing consensus that spiral or scroll waves of electrical activation in cardiac tissue are associated with VT, whereas, when these waves break to yield spiral- or scroll-wave turbulence, VT develops into life-threatening VF: in the absence of medical intervention, this makes the heart incapable of pumping blood and a patient dies in roughly two-and-a-half minutes after the initiation of VF. Thus studies of spiral- and scroll-wave dynamics in cardiac tissue pose important challenges for in vivo and in vitro experimental studies and for in silico numerical studies of mathematical models for cardiac tissue. A major goal here is to develop low-amplitude defibrillation schemes for the elimination of VT and VF, especially in the presence of inhomogeneities that occur commonly in cardiac tissue. We present a detailed and systematic study of spiral- and scroll-wave turbulence and spatiotemporal chaos in four mathematical models for cardiac tissue, namely, the Panfilov, Luo-Rudy phase 1 (LRI), reduced Priebe-Beuckelmann (RPB) models, and the model of ten Tusscher, Noble, Noble, and Panfilov (TNNP). In particular, we use extensive numerical simulations to elucidate the interaction of spiral and scroll waves in these models with conduction and ionic inhomogeneities; we also examine the suppression of spiral- and scroll-wave turbulence by low-amplitude control pulses. Our central qualitative result is that, in all these models, the dynamics of such spiral waves depends very sensitively on such inhomogeneities. We also study two types of control schemes that have been suggested for the control of spiral turbulence, via low amplitude current pulses, in such mathematical models for cardiac tissue; our investigations here are designed to examine the efficacy of such control schemes in the presence of inhomogeneities. We find that a local pulsing scheme does not suppress spiral turbulence in the presence of inhomogeneities; but a scheme that uses control pulses on a spatially extended mesh is more successful in the elimination of spiral turbulence. We discuss the theoretical and experimental implications of our study that have a direct bearing on defibrillation, the control of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation.
Project description:Cardiac arrhythmias, such as ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF), are among the leading causes of death in the industrialized world. These are associated with the formation of spiral and scroll waves of electrical activation in cardiac tissue; single spiral and scroll waves are believed to be associated with VT whereas their turbulent analogs are associated with VF. Thus, the study of these waves is an important biophysical problem. We present a systematic study of the combined effects of muscle-fiber rotation and inhomogeneities on scroll-wave dynamics in the TNNP (ten Tusscher Noble Noble Panfilov) model for human cardiac tissue. In particular, we use the three-dimensional TNNP model with fiber rotation and consider both conduction and ionic inhomogeneities. We find that, in addition to displaying a sensitive dependence on the positions, sizes, and types of inhomogeneities, scroll-wave dynamics also depends delicately upon the degree of fiber rotation. We find that the tendency of scroll waves to anchor to cylindrical conduction inhomogeneities increases with the radius of the inhomogeneity. Furthermore, the filament of the scroll wave can exhibit drift or meandering, transmural bending, twisting, and break-up. If the scroll-wave filament exhibits weak meandering, then there is a fine balance between the anchoring of this wave at the inhomogeneity and a disruption of wave-pinning by fiber rotation. If this filament displays strong meandering, then again the anchoring is suppressed by fiber rotation; also, the scroll wave can be eliminated from most of the layers only to be regenerated by a seed wave. Ionic inhomogeneities can also lead to an anchoring of the scroll wave; scroll waves can now enter the region inside an ionic inhomogeneity and can display a coexistence of spatiotemporal chaos and quasi-periodic behavior in different parts of the simulation domain. We discuss the experimental implications of our study.
Project description:Recent years have witnessed a rapidly growing interest in exploring the use of spiral sound carrying artificial orbital angular momentum (OAM), toward establishing a spiral-wave-based technology that is significantly more efficient in energy or information delivering than the ordinary plane wave technology. A major bottleneck of advancing this technology is the efficient excitation of far-field spiral waves in free space, which is a must in exploring the use of spiral waves for long-distance information transmission and particle manipulation. Here, we report a low-profile planar acoustic antenna to modulate wavefronts emitted from a near-field point source and achieve far-field spiral airborne sound carrying OAM. Using the holographic interferogram as a 2D modulated artificial acoustic impedance metasurface, we show the efficient conversion from the surface wave into the propagating spiral shape beam both numerically and experimentally. The vortex fields with spiral phases originate from the complex inter-modal interactions between cylindrical surface waves and a spatially-modulated impedance boundary condition. This antenna can open new routes to highly integrated spiral sound emitters that are critical for practical acoustic functional devices.