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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2010 Nov;299(5):H1577-87. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00406.2010. Epub 2010 Aug 20.

Altered in vivo left ventricular torsion and principal strains in hypothyroid rats.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


The twisting and untwisting motions of the left ventricle (LV) lead to efficient ejection of blood during systole and filling of the ventricle during diastole. Global LV mechanical performance is dependent on the contractile properties of cardiac myocytes; however, it is not known how changes in contractile protein expression affect the pattern and timing of LV rotation. At the myofilament level, contractile performance is largely dependent on the isoforms of myosin heavy chain (MHC) that are expressed. Therefore, in this study, we used MRI to examine the in vivo mechanical consequences of altered MHC isoform expression by comparing the contractile properties of hypothyroid rats, which expressed only the slow β-MHC isoform, and euthyroid rats, which predominantly expressed the fast α-MHC isoform. Unloaded shortening velocity (V(o)) and apparent rate constants of force development (k(tr)) were measured in the skinned ventricular myocardium isolated from euthyroid and hypothyroid hearts. Increased expression of β-MHC reduced LV torsion and fiber strain and delayed the development of peak torsion and strain during systole. Depressed in vivo mechanical performance in hypothyroid rats was related to slowed cross-bridge performance, as indicated by significantly slower V(o) and k(tr), compared with euthyroid rats. Dobutamine infusion in hypothyroid hearts produced smaller increases in torsion and strain and aberrant transmural torsion patterns, suggesting that the myocardial response to β-adrenergic stress is compromised. Thus, increased expression of β-MHC alters the pattern and decreases the magnitude of LV rotation, contributing to reduced mechanical performance during systole, especially in conditions of increased workload.

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