Electrophysiological Assessment of Murine Atria with High-Resolution Optical Mapping

* These authors contributed equally
This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Recent genome-wide association studies targeting atrial fibrillation (AF) have indicated a strong association between the genotype and electrophysiological phenotype in the atria. That encourages us to utilize a genetically-engineered mouse model to elucidate the mechanism of AF. However, it is difficult to evaluate the electrophysiological properties in murine atria due to their small size. This protocol describes the electrophysiological evaluation of atria using an optical mapping system with a high temporal and spatial resolution in Langendorff perfused murine hearts. The optical mapping system is assembled with dual high-speed complementary metal oxide semiconductor cameras and high magnification objective lenses, to detect the fluorescence of a voltage-sensitive dye and Ca2+ indicator. To focus on the assessment of murine atria, optical mapping is performed with an area of 2 mm × 2 mm or 10 mm x 10 mm, with a 100 × 100 resolution (20 µm/pixel or 100 µm/pixel) and sampling rate of up to 10 kHz (0.1 ms) at maximum. A 1-French size quadripolar electrode pacing catheter is placed into the right atrium through the superior vena cava avoiding any mechanical damage to the atrium, and pacing stimulation is delivered through the catheter. An electrophysiological study is performed with programmed stimulation including constant pacing, burst pacing, and up to triple extrastimuli pacing. Under a spontaneous or pacing rhythm, the optical mapping recorded the action potential duration, activation map, conduction velocity, and Ca2+ transient individually in the right and left atria. In addition, the programmed stimulation also determines the inducibility of atrial tachyarrhythmias. Precise activation mapping is performed to identify the propagation of the excitation in the atrium during an induced atrial tachyarrhythmia. Optical mapping with a specialized setting enables a thorough electrophysiological evaluation of the atrium in murine pathological models.