General, Research, Technology

Scientists have learned to control the heart of Drosophila with a laser

Scientists during numerous experiments and beforethis managed to subjugate the vital indicators of various insects and animals, but, as a rule, all of them required surgical intervention in the experimental organism or were only feasible at a certain stage in the life of individuals. The experiment of researchers from Lehai University for the first time demonstrated the effectiveness of laser stimulation of the heart of a living creature.

Drosophila fly is familiar to almost everyone,because he likes to wind up in your apartment, if you suddenly forgot to throw out the fruits and vegetables left over from yesterday's dinner. This fruit fly is quite often used by scientists in their experiments, since its genome is 80% identical to the human genome. In this case, they needed her tiny heart to test a pulsed blue laser on it. The beam of this laser did no harm to the fly, but at a frequency of 10 flashes per second, it markedly increased the frequency of its heart rate, entering in unison with it.

The first pacemakers were developed in the 50syears of the last century and used electrical impulses to achieve stable functioning of the heart muscle. Scientists have long been thinking about replacing not very convenient electrodes with light pulses, and now they have made significant progress in their research. Specially for the experiment, Drosophila, whose hearts contained a photosensitive protein taken from algae, were genetically bred.

Optical pacing is undeniableadvantages over electrical. Pacemaker requires mandatory surgical intervention, and even its impulses over time can harm the human body, since the current affects not only the heart muscle, but also spreads to other tissues. The optical system is safer in this regard, in addition, it affects only specific cells.

The main question remains for scientists: how to apply new technology to the human heart without resorting to surgery. The head of research, Chao Zhou, claims that such methods exist. For example, light close to infrared penetrates deep enough into the tissues of the human body. Theoretically, scientists can control a person’s heart muscle without resorting to complicated operations, but for this, a special photosensitive protein must be introduced into the heart tissue.

An optical experiment was also conducted withexperimental fish and laboratory mice. True, with fish, optical stimulation was feasible at an early stage in the development of their body, and mice needed surgical intervention to introduce a laser, which was not the main goal of scientists. So it is the success of a non-invasive experiment with flies of Drosophila that will allow scientists to begin a new chapter in the field of cardiology.