Enhanced assessment of contractile dynamics in Drosophila hearts

Biotechniques. 2015 Feb 1;58(2):77-80. doi: 10.2144/000114255. eCollection 2015 Feb.


The Drosophila heart has gained considerable traction as a model of cardiac development and physiology. Previously we described a semiautomatic optical heartbeat analysis (SOHA) method for quantifying functional parameters from the fly heart that facilitated its use as an organ system and disease model. Here we present an extensively rewritten version of the original SOHA program that takes advantage of additional information contained in high-speed videos of beating hearts. Program updates allow more precise quantification of cardiac contractions, increase the signal-to-noise ratio, and reduce the overall cost and time required to analyze recordings. This new SOHA version permits relatively rapid and highly accurate determination of subphases of contraction and relaxation. Importantly, the improved functionality enables the calculation of novel physiological data, suggesting that the fly model system may also be practical for screening drugs and alleles that modulate cardiac repolarization and force production.

Keywords: Drosophila; cardiac; contraction velocity; myosin; relative force; thapsigargin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Myocardial Contraction / physiology*
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Software