Hypothyroidism leads to increased collagen-based stiffness and re-expression of large cardiac titin isoforms with high compliance

Yiming Wu, Jun Peng, Kenneth B. Campbell, Siegfried Labeit, Henk Granzier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Because long-term hypothyroidism results in diastolic dysfunction, we investigated myocardial passive stiffness in hypothyroidism and focused on the possible role of titin, an important determinant of diastolic stiffness. A rat model of hypothyroidism was used, obtained by administering propylthiouracil (PTU) for times that varied from 1 month (short-term) to 4 months (long-term). Titin expression was determined by transcript analysis, gel electrophoresis and immunoelectron microscopy. Diastolic function was measured at the isolated heart, skinned muscle, and cardiac myocyte levels. We found that hypothyroidism resulted in expression of a large titin isoform, the abundance of which gradually increased with time to become the most dominant isoform in long-term hypothyroid rats. This isoform co-migrates on high-resolution gels with fetal cardiac titin. Transcript analysis on myocardium of long-term PTU rats, provided evidence for expression of additional PEVK and Ig domain exons, similar to what has been described in fetal myocardium. Consistent with the expression of a large titin isoform, titin-based restoring and passive forces were significantly reduced in single cardiac myocytes and muscle strips of long-term hypothyroid rats. Overall muscle stiffness and LV diastolic wall stiffness were increased, however, due to increased collagen-based stiffness. We conclude that long term hypothyroidism triggers expression of a large cardiac titin isoform and that the ensuing reduction in titin-based passive stiffness functions as a compensatory mechanism to reduce LV wall stiffness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-195
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Collagen
  • Connectin
  • Diastolic stiffness
  • Extra cellular matrix
  • Fetal cardiac isoforms
  • Passive stiffness
  • Titin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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