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Protein and mRNA levels of the myosin heavy chain isoforms I beta, IIa, IIx and IIb in Type I and Type II fibre-predominant rat skeletal muscles in response to chronic alcohol feeding

Lookup NU author(s): Matthew Reilly, Dr David Mantle


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Alcoholic myopathy occurs in between one and two-thirds of all alcohol misusers and is thus one of the most prevalent muscle disorders (2000 cases per 100,000 population). It is characterised by myalgia, muscle weakness and loss of lean tissue mass. Histological features include a reduction in the diameter of Type II muscle fibres, particularly the IIb fibre subset. In contrast, Type I fibres are relatively protected. It is possible that the myopathy is due to perturbations in myosin protein and mRNA expression. To test this hypothesis, we fed rats a liquid diet containing 35% of calories as ethanol. Control rats were pair-fed identical amounts of the same diet in which ethanol was replaced by isocaloric glucose. At the end of 6 weeks, total myofibrillary proteins and myosin heavy chain (MyoHC) I beta, IIa, IIx and IIb protein and mRNA were analysed in the plantaris (Type II fibre-predominant) and soleus (Type I fibre-predominant) muscles. The data showed that there were significant reductions in the total myofibrillary protein content in the plantaris of ethanol fed rats compared to pair-fed controls (P < 0.05). These changes in the plantaris were accompanied by reductions in total myosin (P < 0.025), as a consequence of specific reductions in the I beta, (P < 0.01), IIx (P < 0.05) and IIb (P < 0.05) protein isoforms. The mRNA levels of I beta were significantly reduced in the plantaris (P < 0.05). However, mRNA levels of IIa, IIx and IIb in the plantaris were not significantly affected by alcohol feeding. Other changes in the plantaris included significant reductions in desmin (P < 0.01), actin (P < 0.025), and troponin-I (P < 0.05) compared to pair-fed controls. In the soleus, the only significant changes related to a fall in I beta mRNA levels and a decline in troponin-C content. We conclude that in the rat, alcoholic myopathy is a feature of Type II fibre rich muscles and is accompanied by multiple protein changes. The decline in specific myosin protein levels, such as IIx and IIb in the absence of corresponding reductions in their mRNAs, is probably due to altered proteolysis or more likely reductions in translational efficiencies, rather than changes in transcription.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reilly ME, McKoy G, Mantle D, Peters TJ, Goldspink G, Preedy VR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility

Year: 2000

Volume: 21

Issue: 8

Pages: 763-773

ISSN (print): 0142-4319

ISSN (electronic): 1573-2657

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1023/A:1010336624154


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