Sarcolipin (SLN) is a small molecular weight sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membrane protein expressed both in cardiac and skeletal muscle tissues. Recent studies using transgenic mouse models have demonstrated that SLN is an important regulator of cardiac SR Ca2+ ATPase 2a (SERCA2a). However, there is a paucity of information regarding the SLN protein expression in small versus larger mammals and its regulation during development and cardiac pathophysiology. Therefore, the major goal of this study was to generate an SLN specific antibody and perform detailed analyses of SLN protein expression during muscle development and in the diseased myocardium. The important findings of the present study are: (i) in small mammals, SLN expression is predominant in the atria but low in the ventricle and in skeletal muscle tissues, whereas in large mammals, SLN is quite abundant in skeletal muscle tissues than the atria, (ii) SLN and SERCA2a are co-expressed in all striated muscle tissues studied except ventricle and co-ordinately regulated during muscle development and (iii) SLN protein levels are approximately 3 fold upregulated in the atria of heart failure dogs and approximately 30% decreased in the atria of hearts prone to myocardial ischemia. In addition we found that in the phospholamban null atria, SLN protein levels are upregulated.