Optogenetic control of heart muscle in vitro and in vivo

Nat Methods. 2010 Nov;7(11):897-900. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1512. Epub 2010 Oct 3.


Electrical stimulation is the standard technique for exploring electrical behavior of heart muscle, but this approach has considerable technical limitations. Here we report expression of the light-activated cation channel channelrhodopsin-2 for light-induced stimulation of heart muscle in vitro and in mice. This method enabled precise localized stimulation and constant prolonged depolarization of cardiomyocytes and cardiac tissue resulting in alterations of pacemaking, Ca(2+) homeostasis, electrical coupling and arrhythmogenic spontaneous extrabeats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Channelrhodopsins
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrocardiography
  • Mice
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology*
  • Pacemaker, Artificial


  • Channelrhodopsins
  • Calcium