Recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease is largely due to results obtained in studies of cardiac physiology at the cellular and molecular levels. These studies allow identifying the mechanisms associated with different cardiac pathologies, typically related to an abnormal behavior in cell regulatory mechanisms. In particular, aspects such as the dynamics of ion channels or calcium handling play a critical role in the occurrence of phenomena such as arrhythmias, tachycardia or fibrillation. Within this context, fluorescence microscopy techniques constitute a major breakthrough in the field of cardiac physiology, since they provide a quantitative characterization of aspects such as the location and spatial distribution of molecular receptors, the regulation of intracellular calcium, the spread of activation fronts or the mechanical cardiac contractility. Microscopy imaging techniques are often combined with electrophysiology methods in order to study the above issues while applying electrical stimuli and recording ionic currents in cardiac cells. Studies also can be conducted in cells presenting certain genetic mutations or that have received a specific drug treatment. The main drawback of these experimental studies is that they generate large amount of data in the form of image sequences or time signals. A manual analysis of such data requires large amounts of skilled human resources and is often affected by aspects such as subjectivity, fatigue or the variability among experts. The main objective of this project is to design, validate and implement a set of techniques that allow automatic, robust and reliable processing of experimental data from cardiac physiology studies. In particular, this project will address the following specific issues: i) Location, distribution and dimensions of ryanodine receptors in 2D and 3D confocal microscopy images ii) Co-localization of calcium release events and ryanodine receptors iii) Characterization of electromechanical coupling and measures of cell contractility iv) Characterization of cardiac alternance phenomena v) Co-occurrence spatiotemporal calcium release events on spiral waves and cell cultures. To achieve the objectives, we will combine signal and image processing, time series analysis and pattern recognition methods. The design of different data-processing systems will take place through direct and constant collaboration with international experimental groups. The results will be validated by using different statistical techniques. The results will constitute a set of techniques that will complement those previously developed by our group. The impact of the project will be valued in terms of the results obtained by means of the application of the methods by different research groups.
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco