Alterations of cardiac contractility caused by thiamine deficiency were studied on three groups of 2 month old male Wistar rats: B1, fed a thiamine deficient diet, PF pair fed, which received an amount of thiamine free diet determined on the daily consumption of B1 animals, supplemented with appropriate thiamine supply, C ad libitum fed controls. The animals were studied after 35 days of dietary treatment. Force-velocity curves were determined in right ventricle papillary muscles. Shortening velocity was significantly lower in B1 and PF than in C muscles and in B1 than in PF muscles. The ability to develop tension was not altered. Myosin ATPase activity was assayed in preparations of myofibrils and in preparations of purified myosin. Both Ca-Mg activated myofibrillar ATPase activity and Ca-activated myosin ATPase activity were significantly reduced in B1 and PF compared to C myocardium. Furthermore Ca-activated ATPase activity was lower in B1 than in PF myocardium. Myosin isoenzyme distribution was determined by pyrophosphate gel electrophoresis of purified myosin preparations. When compared to C animals both B1 and PF animals showed a myosin electrophoretic pattern shifted towards the slow isoform V3; such a shift was more pronounced in B1 animals. Information concerning excitation-contraction coupling was obtained by determining the steady state and transient force-interval relation and by recording transmembrane action potential. B1 and PF myocardium exhibited, when compared to C, a less sensitivity to a reduction of the interval of stimulation, a faster mechanical restitution, a prolonged action potential duration. Such alterations were generally more pronounced in B1 than in PF myocardium. The results support the view that in the rat cardiac contractility is deeply affected by thiamine deficiency. The alterations of cardiac contractility seem to be caused by adaptive mechanisms rather than by cardiac failure and seem to be attributable for a big part to the reduction of food supply.
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