Lying between single cell and whole heart experimental studies, cardiac slices provide many of the benefits of a reductionist approach of isolated cardiac myocytes while being easier to generate and more robust with added physiological relevance.

Cardiac slices, unlike single isolated myocytes, can be used to study cardiac function within a multicellular context and an intact myofilament lattice. Slices have the added benefit of maintaining a syncytium of myocytes found in vivo thus maintaining in vivo architecture and intercellular signaling, suggesting that experimental results are more likely to have physiological relevance. And unlike whole heart studies, cardiac slices allow measurements too difficult or impossible to perform in whole hearts.

The IonOptix Cardiac Slice System has been designed to facilitate the application from slice preparation to data acquisition and analysis. Cardiac slices are easily affixed to sturdy, stable triangular clips that mount between a robust force transducer and programmable length controller. Chamber fluid flow allows for temperature control and continuous oxygenation of tissue, while fixed platinum electrodes enable electrical field stimulation. The platinum allows for electrical conductance and are biologically inert while minimizing electrolysis.

Cardiac Slice

Cardiac slice mounted between force transducer and magnetic length controller.

When combined with the IonOptix Calcium and Contractility System, fluorescence of calcium-sensitive dyes, such as Fluo-4, Fura-2 and/or Indo-1, can be detected using IonWizard, which permits control of experiment acquisition parameters and analysis of data.

Similar to pressure-volume work loops in whole heart, mechanical work loops generated by cardiac slices (displayed in real-time) can be acquired using force-feedback length control. Force-length work loops can be used to derive important functional data including end-systolic and end-diastolic force-length relationships (ESFLR and EDFLR) characterizing the elastance and compliance of the tissue and mechanical work and power.

The cardiac slice preparation technique has been recently championed by Professor Cesare Terracciano (Imperial College London) and his laboratory, including Dr. Fotios Pitoulis. We would like to acknowledge and thank them for their assistance with the tissue preparation.

As with all of our systems, we stand behind our products. When we install our complete systems we use your preparations to help get you started as quickly as possible. And when you need assistance we offer unlimited phone and email support for the lifetime of your system.


  • Sensitivity range: 0.015-200 mN

  • Force transducer frequency response: 750-850 Hz

  • Motor range: -2.5 to 2.5 mm (20 nm resolution)


  • Measure calcium and force simultaneously in cardiac slices

  • Acquire mechanical work loop data

  • Characterize cardiac tissue elastance and compliance

  • Analyze mechanical work and power


Cardiac Slice Systems can be combined with our typical Calcium and Contractility components to give a full suite of simultaneous fluorescence and contractility (i.e. force development) measurements. Depending on your specific application, systems may include a sensitive force transducer and/or a programmable length controller.

BROWSE THE TABS to learn more about the components that complete this system.

Motic AE31

IonOptix-configured inverted microscopes provide an ideal platform for combined photometry and dimensioning measurements. These microscopes have been engineered to incorporate various unique IonOptix optical components and connectors in order to operate as the imaging component within our Calcium and Contractility Systems. Choose between the Motic AE31 or the Olympus IX73 depending on your application.  LEARN MORE

LED Light Source

The fluorescence excitation light source is chosen with your specific research needs in mind and can be configured for almost any dye or combination of dyes. Options include the ultra-fast HyperSwitch, monochromatic LEDs, or the more affordable MuStep.  LEARN MORE

MyoCam S3

The sensors within the Intact Muscle Chamber system are responsible for translating cellular signal into data. Cell contractility is measured using the high-speed MyoCam-S3 digital camera, and whole-cell fluorescence photometry is measured with a photomultiplier tube (PMT). For cleaner fluorescence signals, the Cell Framing Adapter allows you to frame a cell of interest and reduce background fluorescence.  LEARN MORE

Force Transducer

The robust force transducer measures muscle force development with a typical sensitivity range of 0-100 mN.  LEARN MORE

IonOptix MyoPacer

The field stimulator is an important component of excitation-contraction studies to provide acute stimulation of tissue. Use either the MyoPacer for simple stimulation protocols or the MyoPacer EP for advanced sequencing and arrhythmic stimulation.  LEARN MORE

IonOptix Intact Muscle Chamber System

The specially-designed muscle chamber allows for simple mounting of muscle preparations, includes inlet and outlet for perfusion flow, and is compatible with almost any type of inverted microscope stage.  LEARN MORE

IonOptix Fluorescence System Interface

The FSI ties the Calcium and Contractility system components together by communicating between hardware and the computer, allowing for synchronous control of contractility and/or calcium measurements as well as inputs and outputs for external devices.  LEARN MORE

Voice Coil

Several options are available to tailor programmable length control to your studies based on length range, resolution, and frequency response.  LEARN MORE


Data acquisition in the muscle system is achieved through the core IonWizard software, in which trace recordings display force data and length controller position. Add the software module PMTAcq for fluorescence recording, the Advanced Signal Generator for precise muscle length control with programmable protocols, and/or MultiClamp for force-length work loops.

Intact Muscle Chamber System

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