The process of measuring contractile force

The time has come now where I have been taught everything I need to get started fully with my project. So today I began by mounting some fibres on T-clips and set about readying myself to contract them on my stage. This sounded relatively straight forward, unfortunately it wasn’t as easy as it had previously […]

The time has come now where I have been taught everything I need to get started fully with my project. So today I began by mounting some fibres on T-clips and set about readying myself to contract them on my stage.

This sounded relatively straight forward, unfortunately it wasn’t as easy as it had previously seemed. In the wise words of one of the research fellows in the lab ‘On paper and in theory everything looks straight forward, in practice not so much!’. I think this is a statement that can be applied to many experimental procedures.

After having spent a few hours mounting fibres I tried to move them out of my dish filled with relaxing solution to fix the fibres between two pins on the stage. This took me quite a long time and much muttering, much to the amusement of many of my colleagues (there is always a friendly atmosphere in the lab and quite a few jokes!). After some while I had correctly mounted the fibre and was ready to contract it! This was the moment I had been practising for, for the last two weeks. I clicked the acquire button on my programme to move the fibre along the solutions to contract it………… after two weeks of training it was over in 8 seconds. I checked to see the force that had been recorded….. nothing. After much scratching of my head and one of the research fellows trying to figure out what had gone wrong we tried again.

This time with our fingers crossed and breath held it worked! Heres the result:

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As an explanation to this graph the greatest horizontal line between 3000-5000 ms (x-axis) is the max force of contraction of the fibre as a voltage (y-axis). Later I will convert this voltage to a force using the calibration setting of the force transducer. But this means I have contracted my first fibre and it feels great. All of the work in the lab preparing for this has finally paid off. It is a very rewarding feeling! Now for the repeats! – CT

 

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