Effects of thyroxine on myosin isoform expression and mechanical properties in guinea-pig smooth muscle.

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Information on the effects of thyroid hormone on smooth muscle contractile protein expression and mechanical properties is sparse. We have addressed the following questions. (1) Can thyroxine hormone alter myosin isoform composition in smooth muscle? (2) Can a change in myosin isoform composition lead to altered mechanical properties in smooth muscle? (3) Are alterations, if occurring, equal in fast and slow smooth muscle types? Guinea-pigs were treated with thyroxine (T(4)) for 12 days. Control animals were given physiological saline solution. Maximal unloaded shortening velocity (V(max)) was measured in chemically skinned, maximally activated muscle preparations from the aorta and the taenia coli. V(max) increased following thyroxine treatment, by approximately 20 % in the taenia coli. In the aorta, no significant increase in V(max) could be detected. The sensitivity of isometric force to inorganic phosphate (P(i)) was increased in the taenia coli following thyroxine treatment. The expression of mRNA (determined with RT-PCR) for the myosin heavy chain with the seven amino acid insert increased by approximately 70 % in the aorta and about 25 % in the taenia coli following thyroxine treatment. Western blot analysis showed an increase in the inserted myosin heavy chain form in the taenia coli. Expression of mRNA for the myosin essential light chains and the corresponding proteins did not change significantly in either muscle type. No alterations in non-muscle myosin heavy chain isoforms could be detected after thyroxine treatment. In conclusion, thyroxine treatment alters the isoform composition of myosin in fast and slow smooth muscles in vivo. This change is sufficient to increase shortening velocity and sensitivity of isometric force to P(i) in the fast, but not in the slow, smooth muscle type.


  • Mia Löfgren
  • Katarina Fagher
  • Geoffrey Woodard
  • Anders Arner
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-766
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch