Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

William Corson Hunter

Second Advisor

William C. Van Buskirk

Third Advisor

Sergei Adamovich

Abstract

Diastolic dysfunction is known to be a major factor for congestive heart failure in aged humans and other mammals. The main contributors to increase in the myocardial stiffness, hindering the cardiac mechanics, are alterations in intracellular titin and extracellular collagen matrix. Titin is a giant extensible protein, the third filament of striated muscle after actin and myosin, which provides elasticity to passive sarcomeres. The aim of this study is to develop an efficient experimental system that will prove to be instrumental in comparing the contribution of titin against collagen to the passive stiffness of cardiac muscle extracted from experimental animals of different age groups. To accomplish a reliable technique, a pool of sophisticated devices like piezoelectric translation stage, force transducer and high speed video sarcomere length measurement system was assembled to function in coordination with each other. In addition, protocols were written to perform controlled experiments on the cardiac muscle specimen under consideration. To verify the sustainability and repeatability of the system, heart tissue from rats and pigs were used to perform trials and acquire data. From the trials conducted using myocardium of adult (but not senescent) animals, the recorded data was found to follow trends anticipated from published literature for non-aged myocardium. These findings suggest the system will also be able to satisfactorily conduct repeated experiments with aged myocardium.

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