Benefits of Chronic Pacing of Cells in Culture
Chronic electrical stimulation has been shown to prevent the dedifferentiation of myocytes that occurs in long term culture. Pacing will maintain the rod shaped, striated morphology of the myocyte for several days. Whereas quiescent cells begin losing their contractile properties within 6 to 18 hours, most chronically paced experiments run 72 hours with little loss of contraction amplitude. Protein synthesis is also maintained and cells are kept in normal nitrogen balance for at least 72 hours. Effects have been observed in studies up to 7 days. In a good adult rat myocyte preparation, the C-Pace/C-Dish system generally gets 70-80% capture (although there is some thought that only using enough voltage to stimulate 50-60% of the cells has the advantages of pre-selection and best maintenance of the healthiest cells). Use of the system, therefore, allows for experiments requiring several days and maximizes the number of cells which can be used from each animal.