Isolation, culture, and immunostaining of neonatal rat ventricular myocytes
ABSTRACT: Summary Isolation and culture of ventricular cardiomyocytes from neonatal rats (NRVMs) is a powerful model to study neonatal cardiac development, cell cycle regulation, and cardiac physiology and pathology in vitro. Here, we present our modified enzymatic digestion protocol followed by two-step discontinuous Percoll gradient centrifugation to isolate a high yield of viable ventricular cardiomyocytes from neonatal rats. Finally, here we describe an immunostaining protocol for cytosolic and nuclear staining of NRVMs. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Pereira et al. (2020). Graphical abstract Highlights • Isolate a high yield of viable ventricular cardiomyocytes from neonatal rats (NRVMs)• NRVMs can be maintained in culture for several days• Enzymatic digestion of cardiac tissue and Percoll gradient separation• Detailed subsection of immunofluorescence for nuclear and cytosolic staining Isolation and culture of ventricular cardiomyocytes from neonatal rats (NRVMs) is a powerful model to study neonatal cardiac development, cell cycle regulation, and cardiac physiology and pathology in vitro. Here, we present our modified enzymatic digestion protocol followed by two-step discontinuous Percoll gradient centrifugation to isolate a high yield of viable ventricular cardiomyocytes from neonatal rats. Finally, here we describe an immunostaining protocol for cytosolic and nuclear staining of NRVMs.
Project description:Transient receptor potential canonical 6 (TRPC6) channels are non-selective cation channels that are thought to underlie mechano-modulation of calcium signaling in cardiomyocytes. TRPC6 channels are involved in development of cardiac hypertrophy and related calcineurin-nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) signaling. However, the exact location and roles of TRPC6 channels remain ill-defined in cardiomyocytes. We used an expression system based on neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs) to investigate the location of TRPC6 channels and their role in calcium signaling. NRVMs isolated from 1- to 2-day-old animals were cultured and infected with an adenoviral vector to express enhanced-green fluorescent protein (eGFP) or TRPC6-eGFP. After 3 days, NRVMs were fixed, immunolabeled, and imaged with confocal and super-resolution microscopy to determine TRPC6 localization. Cytosolic calcium transients at 0.5 and 1 Hz pacing rates were recorded in NRVMs using indo-1, a ratio-metric calcium dye. Confocal and super-resolution microscopy suggested that TRPC6-eGFP localized to the sarcolemma. NRVMs infected with TRPC6-eGFP exhibited higher diastolic and systolic cytosolic calcium concentration as well as increased sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium load compared to eGFP infected cells. We applied a computer model comprising sarcolemmal TRPC6 current to explain our experimental findings. Altogether, our studies indicate that TRPC6 channels play a role in sarcolemmal and intracellular calcium signaling in cardiomyocytes. Our findings support the hypothesis that upregulation or activation of TRPC6 channels, e.g., in disease, leads to sustained elevation of the cytosolic calcium concentration, which is thought to activate calcineurin-NFAT signaling and cardiac hypertrophic remodeling. Also, our findings support the hypothesis that mechanosensitivity of TRPC6 channels modulates cytosolic calcium transients and SR calcium load.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>We investigated whether electrical stimulation via indium tin oxide (ITO) could enhance the in vitro culture of neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs), which are important in vitro models for studying the mechanisms underlying many aspects of cardiology.<h4>Methods</h4>Cardiomyocytes were obtained from 1-day-old neonatal rat heart ventricles. To evaluate function of NRVMs cultured on ITO with electrical stimulation, the cell viability, change of cell morphology, immunochemistry using cardiac-specific antibodies, and gene expression were tested.<h4>Results</h4>Defined sarcomeric structure, cell enlargement, and increased distribution of NRVMs appeared in the presence of electrical stimulation. These characteristics were absent in NRVMs cultured under standard culture conditions. In addition, the expression levels of cardiomyocyte-specific and ion channel markers were higher in NRVMs seeded on ITO-coated dishes than in the control group at 14 days after seeding. ITO-coated dishes could effectively provide electrical cues to support the in vitro culture of NRVMs.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These results provide supporting evidence that electrical stimulation via ITO can be effectively used to maintain culture and enhance function of cardiomyocytes in vitro.
Project description:Intracellular Ca2+ overload, prolongation of the action potential duration (APD), and downregulation of inward rectifier potassium (IK1) channel are hallmarks of electrical remodeling in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure (HF). We hypothesized that enhancement of IK1 currents is a compensation for IK1 deficit and a novel modulation for cardiac Ca2+ homeostasis and pathological remodeling. In adult Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats in vivo, cardiac hypertrophy was induced by isoproterenol (Iso) injection (i.p., 3 mg/kg/d) for 3, 10, and 30 days. Neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs) were isolated from 1 to 3 days SD rat pups and treated with 1 μmol/L Iso for 24 h in vitro. The effects of zacopride, a selective IK1/Kir2.1 channel agonist, on cardiac remodeling/hypertrophy were observed in the settings of 15 μg/kg in vivo and 1 μmol/L in vitro. After exposing to Iso for 3 days and 10 days, rat hearts showed distinct concentric hypertrophy and fibrosis and enhanced pumping function (P < 0.01 or P < 0.05), then progressed to dilatation and dysfunction post 30 days. Compared with the age-matched control, cardiomyocytes exhibited higher cytosolic Ca2+ (P < 0.01 or P < 0.05) and lower SR Ca2+ content (P < 0.01 or P < 0.05) all through 3, 10, and 30 days of Iso infusion. The expressions of Kir2.1 and SERCA2 were downregulated, while p-CaMKII, p-RyR2, and cleaved caspase-3 were upregulated. Iso-induced electrophysiological abnormalities were also manifested with resting potential (RP) depolarization (P < 0.01), APD prolongation (P < 0.01) in adult cardiomyocytes, and calcium overload in cultured NRVMs (P < 0.01). Zacopride treatment effectively retarded myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis, preserved the expression of Kir2.1 and some key players in Ca2+ homeostasis, normalized the RP (P < 0.05), and abbreviated APD (P < 0.01), thus lowered cytosolic [Ca2 +]i (P < 0.01 or P < 0.05). IK1channel blocker BaCl2 or chloroquine largely reversed the cardioprotection of zacopride. We conclude that cardiac electrical remodeling is concurrent with structural remodeling. By enhancing cardiac IK1, zacopride prevents Iso-induced electrical remodeling around intracellular Ca2+ overload, thereby attenuates cardiac structural disorder and dysfunction. Early electrical interventions may provide protection on cardiac remodeling.
Project description:Transient receptor potential canonical 1 (TRPC1) protein is abundantly expressed in cardiomyocytes. While TRPC1 is supposed to be critically involved in cardiac hypertrophy, its physiological role in cardiomyocytes is poorly understood. We investigated the subcellular location of TRPC1 and its contribution to Ca<sup>2+</sup> signaling in mammalian ventricular myocytes. Immunolabeling, three-dimensional scanning confocal microscopy and quantitative colocalization analysis revealed an abundant intracellular location of TRPC1 in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs) and adult rabbit ventricular myocytes. TRPC1 was colocalized with intracellular proteins including sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca<sup>2+</sup> ATPase 2 in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Colocalization with wheat germ agglutinin, which labels the glycocalyx and thus marks the sarcolemma including the transverse tubular system, was low. Super-resolution and immunoelectron microscopy supported the intracellular location of TRPC1. We investigated Ca<sup>2+</sup> signaling in NRVMs after adenoviral TRPC1 overexpression or silencing. In NRVMs bathed in Na<sup>+</sup> and Ca<sup>2+</sup> free solution, TRPC1 overexpression and silencing was associated with a decreased and increased SR Ca<sup>2+</sup> content, respectively. In isolated rabbit cardiomyocytes bathed in Na<sup>+</sup> and Ca<sup>2+</sup> free solution, we found an increased decay of the cytosolic Ca<sup>2+</sup> concentration [Ca<sup>2+</sup>]<sub>i</sub> and increased SR Ca<sup>2+</sup> content in the presence of the TRPC channel blocker SKF-96365. In a computational model of rabbit ventricular myocytes at physiological pacing rates, Ca<sup>2+</sup> leak through SR TRPC channels increased the systolic and diastolic [Ca<sup>2+</sup>]<sub>i</sub> with only minor effects on the action potential and SR Ca<sup>2+</sup> content. Our studies suggest that TRPC1 channels are localized in the SR, and not present in the sarcolemma of ventricular myocytes. The studies provide evidence for a role of TRPC1 as a contributor to SR Ca<sup>2+</sup> leak in cardiomyocytes, which was previously explained by ryanodine receptors only. We propose that the findings will guide us to an understanding of TRPC1 channels as modulators of [Ca<sup>2+</sup>]<sub>i</sub> and contractility in cardiomyocytes.
Project description:Cardiac cell therapies involving bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have shown promising results, although their mechanisms of action are still poorly understood. Here, we investigated direct interactions between hMSCs and cardiomyocytes in vitro. Using a genetic Ca(2+) indicator gCaMP3 to efficiently label hMSCs in co-cultures with neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs), we determined that 25-40% of hMSCs (from 4 independent donors) acquired periodic Ca(2+) transients and cardiac markers through spontaneous fusion with NRVMs. Sharp electrode and voltage-clamp recordings in fused cells showed action potential properties and Ca(2+) current amplitudes in between those of non-fused hMSCs and NRVMs. Time-lapse video-microscopy revealed the first direct evidence of active fusion between hMSCs and NRVMs within several hours of co-culture. Application of blebbistatin, nifedipine or verapamil caused complete and reversible inhibition of fusion, suggesting potential roles for actomyosin bridging and Ca(2+) channels in the fusion process. Immunostaining for Cx43, Ki67, and sarcomeric ?-actinin showed that fused cells remain strongly coupled to surrounding NRVMs, but downregulate sarcomeric structures over time, acquiring a non-proliferative and non-contractile phenotype. Overall, these results describe the phenotype and mechanisms of hybrid cell formation via fusion of hMSCs and cardiomyocytes with potential implications for cardiac cell therapy.
Project description:Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) provide advantages in long-term, cardiac-specific gene expression. However, AAV serotype specificity data is lacking in experimental models relevant to cardiac electrophysiology and cardiac optogenetics. We aimed to identify the optimal AAV serotype (1, 6, or 9) in pursuit of scalable rodent and human models using genetic modifications in cardiac electrophysiology and optogenetics, in particular, as well as to elucidate the mechanism of virus uptake. In vitro syncytia of primary neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes (NRVMs) and human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) were infected with AAVs 1, 6, and 9 containing the transgene for eGFP or channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) fused to mCherry. In vivo adult rats were intravenously injected with AAV1 and 9 containing ChR2-mCherry. Transgene expression profiles of rat and human cells in vitro revealed that AAV1 and 6 significantly outperformed AAV9. In contrast, systemic delivery of AAV9 in adult rat hearts yielded significantly higher levels of ChR2-mCherry expression and optogenetic responsiveness. We tracked the mechanism of virus uptake to purported receptor-mediators for AAV1/6 (cell surface sialic acid) and AAV9 (37/67 kDa laminin receptor, LamR). In vitro desialylation of NRVMs and hiPSC-CMs with neuraminidase (NM) significantly decreased AAV1,6-mediated gene expression, but interestingly, desialylation of hiPSC-CMs increased AAV9-mediated expression. In fact, only very high viral doses of AAV9-ChR2-mCherry, combined with NM treatment, yielded consistent optogenetic responsiveness in hiPSC-CMs. Differences between the in vitro and in vivo performance of AAV9 could be correlated to robust LamR expression in the intact heart (neonatal rat hearts as well as adult human and rat hearts), but no expression in vitro in cultured cells (primary rat cells and hiPS-CMs). The dynamic nature of LamR expression and its dependence on environmental factors was further corroborated in intact adult human ventricular tissue. The combined transgene expression and cell surface receptor data may explain the preferential efficiency of AAV1/6 in vitro and AAV9 in vivo for cardiac delivery and mechanistic knowledge of their action can help guide cardiac optogenetic efforts. More broadly, these findings are relevant to future efforts in gene therapy for cardiac electrophysiology abnormalities in vivo as well as for genetic modifications of cardiomyocytes by viral means in vitro applications such as disease modeling or high-throughput drug testing.
Project description:Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS1) has been consistently shown to be the predominant isoform of NOS and/or NOS-derived NO that may be involved in the myocardial remodeling including cardiac hypertrophy. However, the direct functional contribution of NOS1 in this process remains to be elucidated. Therefore, in the present study, we attempted to use silent RNA and adenovirus mediated silencing or overexpression to investigate the role of NOS1 and the associated molecular signaling mechanisms during OKphenylephrine (PE)-induced cardiac hypertrophy growth in neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes (NRVMs). We found that the expression of NOS1 was enhanced in PE-induced hypertrophic cardiomyocytes. Moreover, LVNIO treatment, a selective NOS1 inhibitor, significantly decreased PE-induced NRVMs hypertrophy and [3H]-leucine incorporation. We demonstrated that NOS1 gene silencing attenuated both the increased size and the transcriptional activity of the hypertrophic marker atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) induced by PE stimulation. Further investigation suggested that deficiency of NOS1-induced diminished NRVMS hypertrophy resulted in decreased calcineurin protein expression and activity (assessed by measuring the transcriptional activity of NFAT) and, an increased activity of the anti-hypertrophic pathway, GSK-3? (estimated by its augmented phosphorylated level). In contrast, exposing the NOS1 overexpressed NRVMs to PE-treatment further increased the hypertrophic growth, ANF transcriptional activity and calcineurin activity. Together, the results of the present study suggest that NOS1 is directly involved in controlling the development of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy.
Project description:The effect of cyclic mecanical stretch on cardiac microRNA expression was studied in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs). Overall design: The effect of cyclic mecanical stretch on cardiac microRNA expression was studied in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs) 24 and 48 hours after start of the stretching. There are 3 biological replicates at each timepoint.
Project description:The effect of cyclic mecanical stretch on cardiac gene expression was studied in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs). Overall design: The effect of cyclic mecanical stretch on cardiac gene expression was studied in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs) 1, 4, and 12 hours after start of the stretching. There are 5 biological replicates at each timepoint.
Project description:Life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, typically arising from interfaces between fibrosis and surviving cardiomyocytes, are feared sequelae of structurally remodeled hearts under oxidative stress. Incomplete understanding of the proarrhythmic electrical remodeling by fibrosis limits the development of novel antiarrhythmic strategies. To define the mechanistic determinants of the proarrhythmia in electrical crosstalk between cardiomyocytes and noncardiomyocytes, we developed a novel <i>in vitro</i> model of interface between neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes (NRVMs) and controls [NRVMs or connexin43 (Cx43)-deficient HeLa cells] vs. Cx43<sup>+</sup> noncardiomyocytes [aged rat ventricular myofibroblasts (ARVFs) or HeLaCx43 cells]. We performed high-speed voltage-sensitive optical imaging at baseline and following acute H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> exposure. In NRVM-NRVM and NRVM-HeLa controls, no arrhythmias occurred under either experimental condition. In the NRVM-ARVF and NRVM-HeLaCx43 groups, Cx43<sup>+</sup> noncardiomyocytes enabled passive decremental propagation of electrical impulses and impaired NRVM activation and repolarization, thereby slowing conduction and prolonging action potential duration. Following H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> exposure, arrhythmia triggers, automaticity, and non-reentrant and reentrant arrhythmias emerged. This study reveals that myofibroblasts (which generate cardiac fibrosis) and other noncardiomyocytes can induce not only structural remodeling but also electrical remodeling and that electrical remodeling by noncardiomyocytes can be particularly arrhythmogenic in the presence of an oxidative burst. Synergistic electrical remodeling between H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> and noncardiomyocytes may account for the clinical arrhythmogenicity of myofibroblasts at fibrotic interfaces with cardiomyocytes in ischemic/non-ischemic cardiomyopathies. Understanding the enhanced arrhythmogenicity of synergistic electrical remodeling by H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> and noncardiomyocytes may guide novel safe-by-design antiarrhythmic strategies for next-generation iatrogenic interfaces between surviving native cardiomyocytes and exogenous stem cells or engineered tissues in cardiac regenerative therapies.