An in vitro method for recording the electrical activity of the isolated heart of the adult Drosophila melanogaster

In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. Jul-Aug 2001;37(7):445-9. doi: 10.1290/1071-2690(2001)037<0445:aivmfr>;2.


A recording chamber for monitoring the electrophysiological properties of the isolated heart of adult Drosophila melanogaster has been developed. Spontaneously generated field potentials of constant amplitude can be recorded for 6-8 h (n = 14); in very few cases, records were maintained stable for over 10 h (n = 4), and in some cases below 6 h (n = 5). The chamber consists of the tip of a micropipette, which allows for monitoring the field potential generated by the spontaneously contracting heart. The method can produce accurate information about the heart rate and the amplitude of the cardiac action potential. The preparation can be used for pharmacological studies on the heart of D. melanogaster since it responds, with an increase in the heart rate, to unusually low concentrations of octopamine, 1 nM, a compound with cardioaccelerating properties for insect heart. The recording system can be easily modified for experiments on the heart of other insects. Finally, the isolated heart of D. melanogaster provides a simple method for identifying mutations that affect heart physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / physiology
  • Microelectrodes
  • Mutation
  • Myocardial Contraction / physiology
  • Octopamine / pharmacology


  • Octopamine