Microscopic heat pulses induce contraction of cardiomyocytes without calcium transients

Kotaro Oyama, Akari Mizuno, Seine A. Shintani, Hideki Itoh, Takahiro Serizawa, Norio Fukuda, Madoka Suzuki, Shin'ichi Ishiwata*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


It was recently demonstrated that laser irradiation can control the beating of cardiomyocytes and hearts, however, the precise mechanism remains to be clarified. Among the effects induced by laser irradiation on biological tissues, temperature change is one possible effect which can alter physiological functions. Therefore, we investigated the mechanism by which heat pulses, produced by infra-red laser light under an optical microscope, induce contractions of cardiomyocytes. Here we show that microscopic heat pulses induce contraction of rat adult cardiomyocytes. The temperature increase, ΔT, required for inducing contraction of cardiomyocytes was dependent upon the ambient temperature; that is, ΔT at physiological temperature was lower than that at room temperature. Ca 2+ transients, which are usually coupled to contraction, were not detected. We confirmed that the contractions of skinned cardiomyocytes were induced by the heat pulses even in free Ca 2+ solution. This heat pulse-induced Ca 2+-decoupled contraction technique has the potential to stimulate heart and skeletal muscles in a manner different from the conventional electrical stimulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-612
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 6


  • Calcium transients
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Contraction
  • Heat pulses
  • IR laser
  • Temperature changes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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