Myosin composition and functional properties of smooth muscle from the uterus of pregnant and non-pregnant rats

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The myosin heavy chain stoichiometry and the force-velocity relation have been determined in the myometrium of the non-pregnant and pregnant rat. The relative proportions of the slower migrating heavy chain (MHC1) greatly exceeded that of the faster migrating heavy chain (MHC2) as shown by electrophoresis on SDS 4%-polyacrylamide gels. The ratios of MHC1/MHC2 were 2.2/1 in the non-pregnant rats, 2.6/1 in the pregnant rat, and contrasted with 0.8/1 in the rat portal vein. This stoichiometry was unchanged by extracting the myosin from the smooth muscle as native myosin in a salt extract, as dissociated myosin using sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) or by isolating the native myosin first by a non-dissociating (pyrophosphate) electrophoresis step and subsequently analysing the protein bands on the SDS 4%-polyacrylamide gel. Although the unequal proportions of the heavy chains suggested the possibility that the native myosin molecule may be arranged as homodimeric heavy chains, no evidence for or against the existence of native myosin isoforms could be obtained by electrophoresing native myosin extracts on pyrophosphate-polyacrylamide gels. The force-velocity relations of the intact electrically stimulated myometrium from the non-pregnant and pregnant rats gave isometric force of 45 and 135 mN/mm2 and Vmax of 0.71 and 0.52 lengths/s (37 degrees C) when measured at 95% of optimal length, whereas in chemically skinned uterine strips at 22 degrees C Vmax was 0.09 and 0.13 lengths/s, respectively. The length-force relationship was of similar shape in the non-gravid and gravid skinned tissues. The energetic tension cost (ATP-turnover/active stress) in skinned fibres was also similar. The mechanical and metabolic characteristics of the gravid and non-gravid uterus found in the present study do not suggest an obvious difference in the intrinsic properties of the myosin, although significant functional alterations in the tissue appear during pregnancy. This corresponds to the lack of a difference in the pattern of the heavy chains.


  • Malcolm P Sparrow
  • Mukhallad A Mohammad
  • Anders Arner
  • Per Hellstrand
  • J Caspar Ruegg
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Fysiologi


Sidor (från-till)624-633
TidskriftPflügers Archiv
Utgåva nummer6
StatusPublished - 1988
Peer review utfördJa