Cardiac myosin heavy chain mRNA expression and myocardial function in the mouse heart.
The vertebrate heart contains two myosin heavy chain isoforms, alpha and beta, which are differentially expressed. To establish a murine model for gene-targeting experiments, we defined the precise temporal expression of the myosin isoforms during cardiogenesis and obtained quantitative measurements of cardiac performance. The relative levels of the alpha- and beta-cardiac transcripts were determined by isolating the RNA from the hearts of CD-1 mice during development and hybridizing the preparations to probes that detect specifically the alpha- or beta-cardiac myosin heavy chain mRNAs. The data indicate that, although both isoforms are present from the onset of cardiogenesis, the beta-isoform predominates during embryogenesis and fetal development. This relation is reversed after the first day of life with a significant drop in the absolute transcript levels during the switch; and alpha/beta ratio of 16:1 is maintained in the neonate, and the relatively high levels of the alpha-transcript remain throughout the adult stages. To be able to make functional comparisons between normal and transgenic mice, we obtained indexes of myocardial function in isolated retrogradely perfused and in work-performing heart preparations in normal and hypodynamic mouse hearts. We found that the physiology of the mouse heart is similar to the rat heart in that we observed a positive staircase in the force-frequency relation of the mouse Langendorff preparation. We also saw contractile responses of more than twice control induced by paired stimulation and persistent postextrasystolic potentiation. As is the case for the rat, in the work-performing mouse heart, afterload (Starling resistance, pressure) changes produced a steeper Starling function curve than did changes in preload (volume, venous return).
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association