We investigated the dominant rule determining synchronization of beating intervals of cardiomyocytes after the clustering of mouse primary and human embryonic-stem-cell (hES)-derived cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocyte clusters were formed in concave agarose cultivation chambers and their beating intervals were compared with those of dispersed isolated single cells. Distribution analysis revealed that the clusters’ synchronized interbeat intervals (IBIs) were longer than the majority of those of isolated single cells, which is against the conventional faster firing regulation or “overdrive suppression.” IBI distribution of the isolated individual cardiomyocytes acquired from the beating clusters also confirmed that the clusters’ IBI was longer than those of the majority of constituent cardiomyocytes. In the complementary experiment in which cell clusters were connected together and then separated again, two cardiomyocyte clusters having different IBIs were attached and synchronized to the longer IBIs than those of the two clusters’ original IBIs, and recovered to shorter IBIs after their separation. This is not only against overdrive suppression but also mathematical synchronization models, such as the Kuramoto model, in which synchronized beating becomes intermediate between the two clusters’ IBIs. These results suggest that emergent slower synchronous beating occurred in homogeneous cardiomyocyte clusters as a community effect of spontaneously beating cells.
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