Echocardiographic assessment of cardiac morphology and function in Xenopus

Heather L. Bartlett, Robert B. Escalera, Sonali S. Patel, Elesa W. Wedemeyer, Kenneth A. Volk, Jamie L. Lohr, Benjamin E. Reinking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Advances using Xenopus as a model permit valuable inquiries into cardiac development from embryo to adult. Noninvasive methods are needed to study cardiac function longitudinally. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of echocardiographic studies in Xenopus and establish normative data of adult cardiac structure and function. Doppler and 2D echocardiograms and electrocardiograms were acquired from adult Xenopus laevis and X. tropicalis. Frogs were exposed to either isoflurane or tricaine to discern the effect of sedating agents on cardiac function. Cardiac dimensions, morphology, flow velocities, and electrophysiologic intervals were measured and evaluated by using bivariate and regression analyses. Normal cardiac dimensions relative to body weight and species were established by echocardiography. Normal conduction intervals were determined by electrocardiography and did not vary by body weight or species. Anesthetic agent did not affect ejection fraction or flow velocity but did alter the QRS duration and QT interval. Echocardiographic and electrocardiographic studies in Xenopus provide information about cardiac anatomy and physiology and can readily be used for longitudinal analyses of developmental inquiries. Body weight, species, and anesthetic agent are factors that should be considered in experimental design and analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalComparative medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


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