Cardiac optogenetics and optical mapping – overcoming spectral congestion in all-optical cardiac electrophysiology

Christopher O’shea, Andrew P. Holmes, James Winter, Joao Correia, Xianhong Ou, Ruirui Dong, Shicheng He, Paulus Kirchhof, Larissa Fabritz, Kashif Rajpoot, Davor Pavlovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
223 Downloads (Pure)


Optogenetic control of the heart is an emergent technology that offers unparalleled spatio-temporal control of cardiac dynamics via light-sensitive ion pumps and channels (opsins). This fast-evolving technique holds broad scope in both clinical and basic research setting. Combination of optogenetics with optical mapping of voltage or calcium fluorescent probes facilitates ‘all-optical’ electrophysiology, allowing precise optogenetic actuation of cardiac tissue with high spatio-temporal resolution imaging of action potential and calcium transient morphology and conduction patterns. In this review, we provide a synopsis of optogenetics and discuss in detail its use and compatibility with optical interrogation of cardiac electrophysiology. We briefly discuss the benefits of all-optical cardiac control and electrophysiological interrogation compared to traditional techniques, and describe mechanisms, unique features and limitations of optically induced cardiac control. In particular, we focus on state-of-the-art setup design, challenges in light delivery and filtering, and compatibility of opsins with fluorescent reporters used in optical mapping. The interaction of cardiac tissue with light, and physical and computational approaches to overcome the ‘spectral congestion’ that arises from the combination of optogenetics and optical mapping are discussed. Finally, we summarize recent preclinical work applications of combined cardiac optogenetics and optical mapping approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number182
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2019


  • action potential
  • arrhythmias
  • calcium
  • cardiac
  • conduction (action potential)
  • fluorescence
  • optical mapping
  • optogenetic


Dive into the research topics of 'Cardiac optogenetics and optical mapping – overcoming spectral congestion in all-optical cardiac electrophysiology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this