Adverse transverse-tubule remodeling in a rat model of heart failure is attenuated with low-dose triiodothyronine treatment

Mol Med. 2019 Dec 6;25(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s10020-019-0120-3.


Pre-clinical animal studies have shown that triiodothyronine (T3) replacement therapy improves cardiac contractile function after myocardial infarction (MI). We hypothesized that T3 treatment could prevent adverse post-infarction cardiomyocyte remodeling by maintaining transverse-tubule (TT) structures, thus improving calcium dynamics and contractility. METHODS: Myocardial infarction (MI) or sham surgeries were performed on female Sprague-Dawley rats (aged 12 wks), followed by treatment with T3 (5μg/kg/d) or vehicle in drinking water for 16 wks (n = 10-11/group). After in vivo echocardiographic and hemodynamic analyses, left ventricular myocytes were isolated by collagenase digestion and simultaneous calcium and contractile transients in single cardiomyocytes were recorded using IonOptix imaging. Live cardiomyocytes were stained with AlexaFluor-488 conjugated wheat germ agglutinin (WGA-488) or di-8-ANEPPS, and multiple z-stack images per cell were captured by confocal microscopy for analysis of TT organization. RTqPCR and immunoblot approaches determined expression of TT proteins. RESULTS: Echocardiography and in vivo hemodynamic measurements showed significant improvements in systolic and diastolic function in T3- vs vehicle-treated MI rats. Isolated cardiomyocyte analysis showed significant dysfunction in measurements of myocyte relengthening in MI hearts, and improvements with T3 treatment: max relengthening velocity (Vmax, um/s), 2.984 ± 1.410 vs 1.593 ± 0.325, p < 0.05 and time to Vmax (sec), 0.233 ± 0.037 vs 0.314 ± 0.019, p < 0.001; MI + T3 vs MI + Veh, respectively. Time to peak contraction was shortened by T3 treatment (0.161 ± 0.021 vs 0.197 ± 0.011 s., p < 0.01; MI + T3 vs MI + Veh, respectively). Analysis of TT periodicity of WGA- or ANEPPS-stained cardiomyocytes indicated significant TT disorganization in MI myocytes and improvement with T3 treatment (transverse-oriented tubules (TE%): 9.07 ± 0.39 sham, 6.94 ± 0.67 MI + Veh and 8.99 ± 0.38 MI + T3; sham vs MI + Veh, p < 0.001; MI + Veh vs MI + T3, p < 0.01). Quantitative RT-PCR showed that reduced expression of BIN1 (Bridging integrator-1), Jph2 (junctophilin-2), RyR2 (ryanodine receptor) and Cav1.2 (L-type calcium channel) in the failing myocardium were increased by T3 and immunoblot analysis further supporting a potential T3 effect on the TT-associated proteins, BIN1 and Jph2. In conclusion, low dose T3 treatment initiated immediately after myocardial infarction attenuated adverse TT remodeling, improved calcium dynamics and contractility, thus supporting the potential therapeutic utility of T3 treatment in heart failure.

Keywords: Calcium transients; Contractility; Heart failure; T-tubules; Triiodothyronine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac* / cytology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac* / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sarcolemma / drug effects*
  • Triiodothyronine / pharmacology*
  • Ventricular Remodeling / drug effects*


  • Triiodothyronine
  • Calcium