Lights, camera, path splitter: a new approach for truly simultaneous dual optical mapping of the heart with a single camera.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMC Biomed Eng






Background: Optical mapping of transmembrane voltage and intracellular calcium is a powerful tool for investigating cardiac physiology and pathophysiology. However, simultaneous dual mapping of two fluorescent probes remains technically challenging. We introduce a novel, easy-to-use approach that requires a path splitter, single camera and excitation light to simultaneously acquire voltage and calcium signals from whole heart preparations, which can be applied to other physiological models - including neurons and isolated cardiomyocytes.

Results: Complementary probes were selected that could be excited with a single wavelength light source. Langendorff-perfused hearts (rat, swine) were stained and imaged using a sCMOS camera outfitted with an optical path splitter to simultaneously acquire two emission fields at high spatial and temporal resolution. Voltage (RH237) and calcium (Rhod2) signals were acquired concurrently on a single sensor, resulting in two 384 × 256 images at 814 frames per second. At this frame rate, the signal-to-noise ratio was 47 (RH237) and 85 (Rhod2). Imaging experiments were performed on small rodent hearts, as well as larger pig hearts with sufficient optical signals. In separate experiments, each dye was used independently to assess crosstalk and demonstrate signal specificity. Additionally, the effect of ryanodine on myocardial calcium transients was validated - with no measurable effect on the amplitude of optical action potentials. To demonstrate spatial resolution, ventricular tachycardia was induced - resulting in the novel finding that spatially discordant calcium alternans can be present in different regions of the heart, even when electrical alternans remain concordant. The described system excels in providing a wide field of view and high spatiotemporal resolution for a variety of cardiac preparations.

Conclusions: We report the first multiparametric mapping system that simultaneously acquires calcium and voltage signals from cardiac preparations, using a path splitter, single camera and excitation light. This approach eliminates the need for multiple cameras, excitation light patterning or frame interleaving. These features can aid in the adoption of dual mapping technology by the broader cardiovascular research community, and decrease the barrier of entry into panoramic heart imaging, as it reduces the number of required cameras.


This is an open access PubMed Central article.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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