Quantification of Muscle Contraction In Vitro and In Vivo Using MUSCLEMOTION Software: From Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes to Zebrafish and Human Hearts

Berend J. van Meer, Luca Sala, Leon G.J. Tertoolen, Godfrey L. Smith, Francis L. Burton, Christine L. Mummery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Quantification of contraction is essential to the study of cardiac diseases, injury, and responses to drugs. While there are many techniques to assess contractility, most rely on costly, dedicated hardware and advanced informatics, and can only be used in specific experimental models. We have developed an automated open-source software tool (MUSCLEMOTION) for use with standard imaging equipment, to assess contractility in vitro and in vivo and quantify responses to drugs and diseases. We describe high-speed and disturbance-free acquisition of images from either electrically paced or non-paced human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes, isolated adult cardiomyocytes, zebrafish hearts, and human echocardiograms. Recordings are then used as input for automated batch analysis by the MUSCLEMOTION software tool configured with specific settings and parameters tailored to the recording technique. Details on accuracy, interpretation, and troubleshooting are discussed. Acquisition duration depends on the experimental setup and aim, but quantification of drug or disease responses in an in vitro muscle model can typically be completed within a few hours.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere67
JournalCurrent Protocols in Human Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018



  • contraction
  • heart
  • pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes
  • quantification
  • software tools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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