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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Introduction of non-linear elasticity models for characterization of shape and deformation statistics: application to contractility assessment of isolated adult cardiocytes

Carlos Bazan1*, Trevor Hawkins2, David Torres-Barba1, Peter Blomgren12 and Paul Paolini13

Author Affiliations

1 Computational Science Research Center, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-1245, USA

2 Department of Mathematics & Statistics, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-7720, USA

3 Department of Biology, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-4614, USA

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BMC Biophysics 2011, 4:17  doi:10.1186/2046-1682-4-17

Published: 22 August 2011

Abstract

Background

We are exploring the viability of a novel approach to cardiocyte contractility assessment based on biomechanical properties of the cardiac cells, energy conservation principles, and information content measures. We define our measure of cell contraction as being the distance between the shapes of the contracting cell, assessed by the minimum total energy of the domain deformation (warping) of one cell shape into another. To guarantee a meaningful vis-à-vis correspondence between the two shapes, we employ both a data fidelity term and a regularization term. The data fidelity term is based on nonlinear features of the shapes while the regularization term enforces the compatibility between the shape deformations and that of a hyper-elastic material.

Results

We tested the proposed approach by assessing the contractile responses in isolated adult rat cardiocytes and contrasted these measurements against two different methods for contractility assessment in the literature. Our results show good qualitative and quantitative agreements with these methods as far as frequency, pacing, and overall behavior of the contractions are concerned.

Conclusions

We hypothesize that the proposed methodology, once appropriately developed and customized, can provide a framework for computational cardiac cell biomechanics that can be used to integrate both theory and experiment. For example, besides giving a good assessment of contractile response of the cardiocyte, since the excitation process of the cell is a closed system, this methodology can be employed in an attempt to infer statistically significant model parameters for the constitutive equations of the cardiocytes.