Preparation of viable adult ventricular myocardial slices from large and small mammals

Samuel A. Watson, Martina Scigliano, Ifigeneia Bardi, Raimondo Ascione, Cesare M. Terracciano*, Filippo Perbellini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
437 Downloads (Pure)


T his protocol describes the preparation of highly viable adult ventricular myocardial slices from the hearts of small and large mammals, including rodents, pigs, dogs and humans. Adult ventricular myocardial slices are 100- to 400-mm-thick slices of living myocardium that retain the native multicellularity, architecture and physiology of the heart. This protocol provides a list of the equipment and reagents required alongside a detailed description of the methodology for heart explantation, tissue preparation, slicing with a vibratome and handling of myocardial slices. Supplementary videos are included to visually demonstrate these steps. A number of critical steps are addressed that must be followed in order to prepare highly viable myocardial slices. These include identification of myocardial fiber direction and fiber alignment within the tissue block, careful temperature control, use of an excitationcontraction uncoupler, optimal vibratome settings and correct handling of myocardial slices. Many aspects of cardiac structure and function can be studied using myocardial slices in vitro. Typical results obtained with hearts from a small mammal (rat) and a large mammal (human) with heart failure are shown, demonstrating myocardial slice viability, maximum contractility, Ca2+ handling and structure. This protocol can be completed in 4 h.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2623-2639
Number of pages17
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number12
Early online date30 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Cardiovascular biology
  • Cardiovascular models
  • Tissue culture

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