The dual effect of thyroid hormones on contractile properties of rat myocardium

V. Cappelli, R. Moggio, B. Polla, R. Bottinelli, C. Poggesi, C. Reggiani

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This study was designed to investigate the changes in cardiac contractile properties induced by triiodothyronine (T3) administration in adult rats. Myofibrils and myosin were isolated from ventricular muscles from euthyroid and hyperthyroid animals and enzymatically and electrophoretically characterized. The time course of the isometric response, the force velocity curve, the force interval relation were studied in papillary muscles isolated from the right ventricles of euthyroid and hyperthyroid rats. T3 administration induced significant increases in Mg2+ activated myofibrillar ATPase activity (+11.4%) and in Ca2+ activated myosin ATPase activity (+20.1%). Significant increases in shortening velocity at low and zero loads (+20.4%) were found in papillary muscles from treated animals when compared with the control muscles. These variations in enzymatic activity and shortening velocity could be related to the increase in the amount of the fast isomyosin V1, as shown by pyrophosphate gel electrophoresis. The negative force-frequency relation at steady state, typical of rat cardiac preparations, was observed in treated and control animals; its slope was, however, halved in hyperthyroid papillary muscles when compared with control ones. In accordance with this finding, the potentiating effect of a prolonged diastolic interval was significantly reduced in hyperthyroid papillary muscles. In the frame of an interpretation of the force interval relation on the basis of the excitation contraction coupling processes, these latter observations might indicate an enhanced activity of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. We conclude that thyroid hormone administration has a dual effect on cardiac contractility, on one hand regulating the synthesis of the different isomyosin and, on the other hand, stimulating the activity of the sarcoplasmic reticulum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-627
Number of pages8
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1988


  • Force-interval relation
  • Forcevelocity
  • Myocardium
  • Myosin
  • Thyroid hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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