Regional variation in cardiac myosin isoforms of female F344 rats during aging

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Myosin heavy chain (MHC) is a major contractile protein of heart muscle consisting of two isoforms in the rat, α-MHC that predominates in the hearts of young rats, and β-MHC that progressively replaces it as the rats age. It was hypothesized that the magnitude of the age-associated decrease in the proportion of cardiac α-MHC would be similar in regions of the heart that differed in their initial MHC isoform pattern. MHCs from hearts of female Fischer 344 rats 3, 9, 15, 18, 24, and 27 months of age were separated by gradient gel electrophoresis. Hypertrophy was assessed by indexing regional heart mass to tibial length. From 9 through 27 months of age, hypertrophy was 19% and 77% in the left ventricle and left atrial appendage, respectively. There was no significant hypertrophy in either the right ventricular free wall or the right atrial appendage. The proportion of α-myosin heavy chain ranged from 86 ± 1.3% (mean ± SE) in the right ventricular free wall to 62 ± 5.8% in left ventricular papillary muscle of 9-month-old rats. In 27- month-old rats, it ranged from 59 ± 2.7% in the right ventricular free wall to 20 ± 3.1% in the left ventricular papillary muscle. There was a marked age-associated decrease in the proportion of α-myosin heavy chain overall (p < .001) that did not differ significantly among the regions studied (p = .109). These results suggest that the effects of advancing age on the cardiac MHC pattern are independent of age-associated hypertrophy.

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Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences

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