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The Shiels Laboratory

Stretch regulation of ectotherm cardiac function

The ectotherm myocardium is exquisitely sensitive to stretch and they use the Frank-Starling mechanism to volume-modulate cardiac output (the product of heart rate and stroke volume). We investigate how ectotherm hearts response to stretch across a number of levels of biological organization. Techniques include:

  • stretching single myocytes using carbon fibres to measure the cellular Frank-Starling response;
  • working isolated whole heart preparation to change input and output pressures and thereby stretch the whole heart;
  • monophasic action potential (MAP) recordings from the surface of the heart during myocardial stretch;
  • ECG recordings from the surface of the heart during myocardial stretch;
  • molecular biology and protein biochemistry of mechanosensitive channels in ectotherm cardiac tissue.