Effects of triiodothyronine (T3) on the expression of cytoskeletal and myofibrillar proteins in adult rat cardiomyocytes (ARC) were followed during two weeks of culture in the presence of 20% T3-depleted (stripped) FCS. Control cultures expressed mainly beta-myosin heavy chain (MHC) mRNA. T3 caused a switch to alpha-MHC expression and a dose-dependent increase of alpha-smooth muscle (alpha-sm) actin mRNA and protein. In parallel, the number of alpha-sm actin immunoreactive cells increased from 1% in controls to 29 and 62% in ARC treated with 5 and 100 nM T3. In the presence of T3, cells exhibited a higher beating rate than controls. The distribution of myofibrils in T3-treated cells was restricted to the perinuclear area with a sharp boundary. Only 5% of the control cells but 30 and 62% of the T3-treated (5 and 100 nM) ARC showed this restricted myofibrillar phenotype. Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) which restricts myofibrillar growth and upregulates alpha-sm actin in ARC cultured with normal FCS had no effect on alpha-sm actin in ARC cultured in stripped FCS, but potentiated the effect of T3. In contrast, insulin-like growth factor I (IGF I), which suppresses alpha-sm actin and stimulates myofibrillogenesis in the presence of normal FCS suppressed T3-induced alpha-sm actin expression in stripped FCS. Thus, T3 appears to be permissive for the action of bFGF and IGF I on alpha-sm actin expression.
M A Gosteli-Peter, B A Harder, H M Eppenberger, J Zapf, M C Schaub