Lying between single cell and whole heart experimental studies, intact muscle tissue isolated from hearts offers unique advantages. Unlike single isolated myocytes, which represent the smallest fully functional model system, intact muscle can be used to study cardiac function while preserving the native myocardial tissue’s multicellular environment, including both fibroblasts and myocytes. And unlike whole heart studies, the contractile characteristics of muscle tissue can be evaluated independently of extrinsic factors such as vascular tone and are better suited for acquisition of functional parameters like calcium transients. Muscle tissue preparations also allow measurements too difficult or impossible to perform in whole hearts. Similarly, unlike skinned preparations, intact muscle preparations allow for simultaneous detection of force production and intracellular calcium dynamics.
We offer two variations of the same core system featuring quantitative force and fluorescence measurements, as well as real-time force-length work loop data acquisition. Our Intact Muscle System permits electrical excitation directly through the platinum hooks attached to the muscle preparation, while the Cardiac Slice System offers electrical field stimulation and many of the key tools required for successful slice preparation.