Modulation by the thyroid state of intracellular calcium and contractility in ferret ventricular muscle

R. Mackinnon, J. K. Gwathmey, P. D. Allen, G. M. Briggs, J. P. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine whether the cardiac contractile abnormalities induced by hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism are caused by changes in intracellular Ca2+ handling or by alterations in the distribution of isoenzymes of ventricular myosin. Right ventricular papillary muscles obtained from euthyroid ferrets and ferrets treated with L-thyroxine (hyperthyroid) or methimazole (hypothyroid) were loaded with the calcium indicator aequorin for recording intracellular Ca2+ levels during isometric contraction. In muscles from the hypothyroid ferrets, peak tension was reduced and the duration of contraction prolonged compared to the controls; these changes were associated with a Ca2+ transient of decreased amplitude and prolonged duration. Hyperthyroidism produced opposite changes in the time course of the Ca2+ transient and the associated isometric contraction. Native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was performed on myosin extracted from the right ventricular free wall of control and treated ferrets. The hyperthyroid state was associated with new myosin formation as indicated by the appearance of three myosin bands on the pyrophosphate gel. Gels of myosin from hypothyroid and euthyroid ferrets showed a single band that migrated with the slowest of the three bands from the hyperthyroid ferrets. These results suggest that changes in both Ca2+ handling and myosin isoenzymes may contribute to the contractile abnormalities observed in hyperthyroidism. Alterations in intracellular Ca2+ handling alone may account for the contractile changes induced by hypothyroidism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1080-1089
Number of pages10
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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