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Isolation of Primary Patient-specific Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells and Semiquantitative Real-time Contraction Measurements In Vitro

Natalija Bogunovic*1,2,3, Karlijn B. Rombouts*1,2, Kak Khee Yeung1,2
* These authors contributed equally


Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are the predominant cell type in the aortic media. Their contractile machinery is important for the transmission of force in the aorta and regulates vasoconstriction and vasodilation. Mutations in genes encoding for the SMC contractile apparatus proteins are associated with aortic diseases, such as thoracic aortic aneurysms. Measuring SMC contraction in vitro is challenging, especially in a high-throughput manner, which is essential for screening patient material. Currently available methods are not suitable for this purpose. This paper presents a novel method based on electric cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS). First, an explant protocol is described to isolate patient-specific human primary SMCs from aortic biopsies and patient-specific human primary dermal fibroblasts for the study of aortic aneurysms. Next, a detailed description of a new contraction method is given to measure the contractile response of these cells, including the subsequent analysis and suggestion for comparing different groups. This method can be used to study the contraction of adherent cells in the context of translational (cardiovascular) studies and patient and drug screening studies.

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