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Altered K(+) channel gene expression in diabetic rat ventricle: isoform switching between Kv4.2 and Kv1.4.

A Nishiyama, D N Ishii, P H Backx, B E Pulford, B R Birks, M M Tamkun

Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol., 2001 Oct , 281, H1800-7

Expression of voltage-gated K(+) channels encoding the K(+) independent transient outward current in the streptozocin-induced diabetic (DM) rat ventricle was studied to determine the basis for slowed cardiac repolarization in diabetes mellitus. Although hypertrophy was not detected in diabetic rats at 12 wk after streptozocin treatment, ventricular Kv4.2 mRNA levels decreased 41% relative to nondiabetic controls. Kv1.4 mRNA levels increased 179% relative to controls, whereas Kv4.3 mRNA levels were unaffected. Immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis of the diabetic heart showed that the density of the Kv4.2 protein decreased, whereas Kv1.4 protein increased. Thus isoform switching from Kv4.2 to Kv1.4 is most likely the mechanism underlying the slower kinetics of transient outward K(+) current observed in the diabetic ventricle. Brain Kv1.4, Kv4.2, or Kv4.3 mRNA levels were unaffected by diabetes. Myosin heavy chain (MHC) gene expression was altered with a 32% decrease in alpha-MHC mRNA and a 259% increase in beta-MHC mRNA levels in diabetic ventricle. Low-dose insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) treatment during the last 6 of the 12 wk of diabetes (DM + IGF) protected against these changes in MHC mRNAs despite continued hyperglycemia and body weight loss. IGF-II treatment did not change K(+) channel mRNA levels in DM or control rat ventricles. Thus IGF treatment may prevent some, but not all, biochemical abnormalities in the diabetic heart.