Cardiac contractility studies using the isolated organ bath set-up

Why study contractility using isolated organ baths ?

More and more molecules show adverse side effects on cardiac contractility. However, these effects are generally detected in the later stage of drug development. Between early hERG screening assays and high-cost in vivo telemetry studies, the isolated organ bath set-up offers an affordable ex vivo model to detect drug-​induced effects on contractility (inotro­pism). Pre­clinical determination of inotropism modification may provide valuable information for toxicity prediction in man.

Why choose PhysioStim for your contractility study?

The experts at PhysioStim have a profound working knowledge of cardiac electrophysiology and make sure you get the most out of your assay.

Inotropic effects using the isolated organ bath set-up

We study inotropic effects induced by drugs using the isolated organ bath set-up. The tissue, isolated papillary muscle, for example, is fixed in the organ bath chamber and electrically stimulated or not. The evoked twitch force is recorded using a force transducer.


  • Isolated organ baths

Study model

  • Guinea-pig papillary muscles
  • 6 preparations tested and 6 control preparations (as basic design protocol but can be adapted)
  • Options: Other tissues.


  • 3 cumulative increasing concentrations of assay compound
  • Stimulation rate: 2 Hz
  • Washout period or positive control at the end of the experiment
  • Option: other stimulation rates

Reference product

  • Isoprenaline 0.03 µmol/L

Measured parameters

  • Systolic tension (Peak)
  • Diastolic tension (Base)
  • Developed tension (dF)


  • Developed force recordings
Contractility curve in isolated organ bath set-up

Advice from our expert scientists

In order to confirm the results obtained during your contractility study and the impact on electrical activity or ECG results, PhysioStim recommends completing your study with additional tests:

Need help with your preclinical safety studies?

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