Field and action potential recordings in heart slices: correlation with established in vitro and in vivo models


Dr Herbert M Himmel, Safety Pharmacology, Bayer HealthCare AG, Aprather Weg 18a, D-42096 Wuppertal, Germany. E-mail:


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Action potential (AP) recordings in ex vivo heart preparations constitute an important component of the preclinical cardiac safety assessment according to the ICH S7B guideline. Most AP measurement models are sensitive, predictive and informative but suffer from a low throughput. Here, effects of selected anti-arrhythmics (flecainide, quinidine, atenolol, sotalol, dofetilide, nifedipine, verapamil) on field/action potentials (FP/AP) of guinea pig and rabbit ventricular slices are presented and compared with data from established in vitro and in vivo models.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH Data from measurements of membrane currents (hERG, INa), AP/FP (guinea pig and rabbit ventricular slices), AP (rabbit Purkinje fibre), haemodynamic/ECG parameters (conscious, telemetered dog) were collected, compared and correlated to complementary published data (focused literature search).

KEY RESULTS The selected anti-arrhythmics, flecainide, quinidine, atenolol, sotalol, dofetilide, nifedipine and verapamil, influenced the shape of AP/FP of guinea pig and rabbit ventricular slices in a manner similar to that observed for rabbit PF. The findings obtained from slice preparations are in line with measurements of membrane currents in vitro, papillary muscle AP in vitro and haemodynamic/ECG parameters from conscious dogs in vivo, and were also corroborated by published data.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS FP and AP recordings from heart slices correlated well with established in vitro and in vivo models in terms of pharmacology and predictability. Heart slice preparations yield similar results as papillary muscle but offer enhanced throughput for mechanistic investigations and may substantially reduce the use of laboratory animals.