Through the early 1990s, the laboratory embarked upon the development of techniques to extend our technology to allow the study of the cardiovascular system in mice both acutely and longitudinally. This required considerable reformatting of the original technology and the development of new techniques. The technology developed by Dr. Hartley was so innovative that Dr. Hartley was awarded the Laufman Prize by the American Association of Medical Instrumentation Foundation. Our laboratory also contains state of the art equipment in echocardiography to measure ejection fraction and wall remodeling in mice.
Technology for Murine Studies
There is no question that the development of technology for genetically altering the mouse has lead greatly to the potential experimental approaches utilized to understand biological function in general. With respect to the cardiovascular system, there were special challenges not faced in other organ systems. In the cardiovascular system, the major experimental "readout" in post-natal mice studies involves baseline function as well as function in animals undergoing a variety of biologically and clinically appropriate stressors. The mouse represented a serious challenge not only because of the miniscule size, but also because the resting heart rate in the mouse varied between 300 and 500 bpm and sensitivity to anesthesia. For meaningful genetic studies, it was important to develop systems that allowed measurement of cardiovascular function in the mouse and follow them longitudinally. In addition, it was necessary to develop models to challenge the heart in a predictable way so that responses to systolic and diastolic overload, cardiac injury, and a variety of both physiologic models could be assessed. New instrumentation technology includes assessment of systolic ejection velocity [Hartley et al, 1995], diastolic filling velocity [Taffet et al, 1996], pulse wave velocity [Hartley et al, 1997] and ejection fraction in mice [Hartley et al, 1999], measurement of arterial wall motion and diameter pulsations [Hartley et al, 2004] , and measurement of coronary flow reserve [Hartley et al, 2007; Hartley et al, 2008].