Rapid genetic algorithm optimization of a mouse computational model: benefits for anthropomorphization of neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes

Front Physiol. 2012 Nov 5;3:421. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00421. eCollection 2012.


While the mouse presents an invaluable experimental model organism in biology, its usefulness in cardiac arrhythmia research is limited in some aspects due to major electrophysiological differences between murine and human action potentials (APs). As previously described, these species-specific traits can be partly overcome by application of a cell-type transforming clamp (CTC) to anthropomorphize the murine cardiac AP. CTC is a hybrid experimental-computational dynamic clamp technique, in which a computationally calculated time-dependent current is inserted into a cell in real-time, to compensate for the differences between sarcolemmal currents of that cell (e.g., murine) and the desired species (e.g., human). For effective CTC performance, mismatch between the measured cell and a mathematical model used to mimic the measured AP must be minimal. We have developed a genetic algorithm (GA) approach that rapidly tunes a mathematical model to reproduce the AP of the murine cardiac myocyte under study. Compared to a prior implementation that used a template-based model selection approach, we show that GA optimization to a cell-specific model results in a much better recapitulation of the desired AP morphology with CTC. This improvement was more pronounced when anthropomorphizing neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes to human-like APs than to guinea pig APs. CTC may be useful for a wide range of applications, from screening effects of pharmaceutical compounds on ion channel activity, to exploring variations in the mouse or human genome. Rapid GA optimization of a cell-specific mathematical model improves CTC performance and may therefore expand the applicability and usage of the CTC technique.

Keywords: cell-specific model; dynamic clamp; genetic algorithm; neonatal mouse cardiomyocyte.