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According to the classic model initially formulated by Mines, reentrant cardiac arrhythmias may be associated with waves circulating in a ring geometry. This study was designed to study the dynamics of reentry in a ring geometry of cardiac tissue culture. Reentrant calcium waves in rings of cultured embryonic chick cardiac myocytes were imaged using a macroscope to monitor the fluorescence of intracellular Calcium Green-1 dye. The rings displayed a variety of stable rhythms including pacemaker activity and spontaneous reentry. Waves originating from a localized pacemaker could lead to reentry as a consequence of unidirectional block. In addition, more complex patterns were observed due to the interactions between reentrant and pacemaker rhythms. These rhythms included instances in which pacemakers accelerated the reentrant rhythm, and instances in which the excitation was blocked in the vicinity of pacemakers. During reentrant activity an appropriately timed electrical stimulus could induce resetting of activity or cause complete annihilation of the propagating waves. This experimental preparation reveals many spontaneously occuring complex rhythms. These complex rhythms are hypothesized to reflect interactions between spontaneous pacemakers, wave propagation, refractory period, and overdrive suppression. This preparation may serve as a useful model system to further investigate complex dynamics arising during reentrant rhythms in cardiac tissue.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





71 - 80


Animals, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Calcium Signaling, Chick Embryo, Culture Techniques, Electric Stimulation, Heart Conduction System, Models, Cardiovascular, Ventricular Function