Huang H, Macgillivray C, Kwon HS, Lammerding J, Robbins J, Lee RT, So P. 2009. Three-dimensional cardiac architecture determined by two-photon microtomy. Journal of biomedical optics. 14(4):044029. Pubmed: 19725740 DOI:10.1117/1.3200939


Cardiac architecture is inherently three-dimensional, yet most characterizations rely on two-dimensional histological slices or dissociated cells, which remove the native geometry of the heart. We previously developed a method for labeling intact heart sections without dissociation and imaging large volumes while preserving their three-dimensional structure. We further refine this method to permit quantitative analysis of imaged sections. After data acquisition, these sections are assembled using image-processing tools, and qualitative and quantitative information is extracted. By examining the reconstructed cardiac blocks, one can observe end-to-end adjacent cardiac myocytes (cardiac strands) changing cross-sectional geometries, merging and separating from other strands. Quantitatively, representative cross-sectional areas typically used for determining hypertrophy omit the three-dimensional component; we show that taking orientation into account can significantly alter the analysis. Using fast-Fourier transform analysis, we analyze the gross organization of cardiac strands in three dimensions. By characterizing cardiac structure in three dimensions, we are able to determine that the alpha crystallin mutation leads to hypertrophy with cross-sectional area increases, but not necessarily via changes in fiber orientation distribution.

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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