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Alterations In Phenotypic And Contractile Properties Of The Rat Diaphragm: Influence Of Hypothyroidism

R. A. Herb, S. K. Powers, D. S. Criswell, V. J. Caiozzo, I. S. Vrabas, S. L. Dodd

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This study examined the influence of experimental hypothyroidism on myosin isoform distribution and contractile function of the costal diaphragm. Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to control (n = 12) or hypothyroid groups (n = 13) over a 6-wk treatment period. In comparison to the control group, in the hypothyroid group the relative distribution of type I myosin heavy chain (MHC) was increased 35% (P < 0.05), whereas type IIb MHC decreased 63% (P < 0.05). Similarly, Ca(2+)-activated myosin adenosinetriphosphatase activity (nmol Pi.mg-1.min-1) in the hypothyroid group was reduced 30% compared with the control group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, significant reductions in diaphragmatic maximal tetanic specific tension (Po; N.cm-2; -21%) and maximal shortening velocity (Vmax; muscle length/s; -25%) were observed in the hypothyroid group. These data provide the first evidence that hypothyroid produces a fast-(type IIb) to-slow (type I) shift in costal diaphragmatic MHC isoform profile that is highly correlated to the observed decrease in Vmax. Finally, the present findings indicate that hypothyroidism does not alter myofibrillar content or noncontractile elements of the diaphragm, thereby suggesting an alternative mechanism(s) to explain the reduction in specific Po.