Dynamics of spatiotemporal line defects and chaos control in complex excitable systems
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Scientific Reports 7 (1): 7757-- (2017)

Spatiotemporal pattern formation governs dynamics and functions in various biological systems. In the heart, excitable waves can form complex oscillatory and chaotic patterns even at an abnormally higher frequency than normal heart beats, which increase the risk of fatal heart conditions by inhibiting normal blood circulation. Previous studies suggested that line defects (nodal lines) play a critical role in stabilizing those undesirable patterns. However, it remains unknown if the line defects are static or dynamically changing structures in heart tissue. Through in vitro experiments of heart tissue observation, we reveal the spatiotemporal dynamics of line defects in rotating spiral waves. We combined a novel signaling over-sampling technique with a multi-dimensional Fourier analysis, showing that line defects can translate, merge, collapse and form stable singularities with even and odd parity while maintaining a stable oscillation of the spiral wave in the tissue. These findings provide insights into a broad class of complex periodic systems, with particular impact to the control and understanding of heart diseases.
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