Tokyo: technicians have demonstrated an electronic device for closely monitoring palpitations or heart muscle cells, without affecting their behavior.
In each of us a life-sustaining heart beats. Unfortunately, the organ is not always perfect and sometimes things go wrong.
Some research into the heart is fundamental for all of us.
"When researchers study heart muscle cells in action, they are grown on hard petri dishes and rigid sensor probes are attached, which inhibit the natural tendency of the cells to move while the sample strikes, so that observations do not accurately reflect reality," said one of the researchers. Sunghoon Lee from the University of Tokyo in Japan.
"Our nanomesh sensor frees researchers to study cardiomyocytes and other cell cultures in a way that is more faithful to how they are in nature.The key is to use the sensor in combination with a flexible substrate, or base, so that the cells can grow, "Lee said.
For this study, the researchers used a healthy culture of cardiomyocytes derived from human stem cells.
The basis for the culture was a very soft material called fibrin gel. Lee placed the nanomesh sensor on top of the cell culture in a complex process, in which liquid was removed and added at the right moments. This was important to correctly orient the nanomesh sensor.
"The fine-mesh sensor is difficult to place perfectly, reflecting the delicate touch needed to manufacture it in the first place," Lee said.
The researchers believe that the device can help to study other cells, organs and medicines.