Functional and morphological preservation of adult ventricular myocytes in culture by sub-micromolar cytochalasin D supplement

In cardiac myocytes, cytochalasin D (CytoD) was reported to act as an actin disruptor and mechanical uncoupler. Using confocal and super-resolution STED microscopy, we show that CytoD preserves the actin filament architecture of adult rat ventricular myocytes in culture. Five hundred nanomolar CytoD was the optimal concentration to achieve both preservation of the T-tubular structure during culture periods of 3days and conservation of major functional characteristics such as action potentials, calcium transients and, importantly, the contractile properties of single myocytes. Therefore, we conclude that the addition of CytoD to the culture of adult cardiac myocytes can indeed be used to generate a solid single-cell model that preserves both morphology and function of freshly isolated cells. Moreover, we reveal a putative link between cytoskeletal and T-tubular remodeling. In the absence of CytoD, we observed a loss of T-tubules that led to significant dyssynchronous Ca2+-induced Ca2+release (CICR), while in the presence of 0.5μM CytoD, T-tubules and homogeneous CICR were majorly preserved. Such data suggested a possible link between the actin cytoskeleton, T-tubules and synchronous, reliable excitation-contraction-coupling. Thus, T-tubular re-organization in cell culture sheds some additional light onto similar processes found during many cardiac diseases and might link cytoskeletal alterations to changes in subcellular Ca2+signaling revealed under such pathophysiological conditions.