Multiscale characterization of left ventricle active behavior in the mouse

Sunder Neelakantan, Mohit Kumar, Emilio A. Mendiola, Haley Phelan, Vahid Serpooshan, Sakthivel Sadayappan, Reza Avazmohammadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The myocardium possesses an intricately designed microarchitecture to produce an optimal cardiac contraction. The contractile behavior of the heart is generated at the sarcomere level and travels across several length scales to manifest as the systolic function at the organ level. While passive myocardial behavior has been studied extensively, the translation of active tension produced at the fiber level to the organ-level function is not well understood. Alterations in cardiac systolic function are often key sequelae in structural heart diseases, such as myocardial infarction and systolic heart failure; thus, characterization of the contractile behavior of the heart across multiple length scales is essential to improve our understanding of mechanisms collectively leading to depressed systolic function. In this study, we present a methodology to characterize the active behavior of left ventricle free wall (LVFW) myocardial tissues in mice. Combined with active tests in papillary muscle fibers and conventional in vivo contractility measurement at the organ level in an animal-specific manner, we establish a multiscale active characterization of the heart from fiber to organ. In addition, we quantified myocardial architecture from histology to shed light on the directionality of the contractility at the tissue level. The LVFW tissue activation-relaxation behavior under isometric conditions was qualitatively similar to that of the papillary muscle fiber bundle. However, the maximum stress developed in the LVFW tissue was an order of magnitude lower than that developed by a fiber bundle, and the time taken for active forces to plateau was 2-3 orders of magnitude longer. Although the LVFW tissue exhibited a slightly stiffer passive response in the circumferential direction, the tissues produced significantly larger active stresses in the longitudinal direction during active testing. Also, contrary to passive viscoelastic stress relaxation, active stresses relaxed faster in the direction with larger peak stresses. The multiscale experimental pipeline presented in this work is expected to provide crucial insight into the contractile adaptation mechanisms of the heart with impaired systolic function. Statement of significance: Heart failure cause significant alterations to the contractile-relaxation behavior of the yocardium. Multiscale characterization of the contractile behavior of the myocardium is essential to advance our understanding of how contractility translates from fiber to organ and to identify the multiscale mechanisms leading to impaired cardiac function. While passive myocardial behavior has been studied extensively, the investigation of tissue-level contractile behavior remains critically scarce in the literature. To the best of our knowledge, our study here is the first to investigate the contractile behavior of the left ventricle at multiple length scales in small animals. Our results indicate that the active myocardial wall is a function of transmural depth and relaxes faster in the direction with larger peak stresses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-253
Number of pages14
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Mice
  • Animals
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Heart/physiology
  • Myocardium
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Systole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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