We investigate the effect of haloperidol on a four-cell and nine-cell cardiomyocyte network on an agarose microchamber array chip to evaluate a cell-based model for drug screening. Using a network of cardiomyocytes whose beating intervals were stable and relatively uniform (they only fluctuated 10% from the mean beating interval), we easily observed the effect of haloperidol on the cell network beating interval 5 min after administering it. We also observed the beating interval returned to its original state 10 min after the haloperidol was washed out of the chip. Although the four-cell network showed the unstable recovery of its beating rhythm after washout of haloperidol, the nine-cell network recovered completely to the stable original beating rhythm even after a second administration of haloperidol. The results indicate the importance of the community size in cell networks used in the stable cell-based screening model. Moreover, they indicate the advantage of using direct cell-based measurements in which the amount of drug administered and the time course over which it is administered are strictly controlled for evaluating the quantitative chemical effects of drugs on cells.
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