A study on the function of some subcellular systems of the sheep myocardium during gousiekte. II. The contractile protein system
Snyman, L.D.; Van der Walt, J.J.; Pretorius, P.J.; Steyn, P.J.J.; Bigalke, R.D.; Cameron, Colin McKenzie; Gilchrist, Frances M.C.; Jordaan, E.; Morren, A.J.; Verster, Anna J.M.; Verwoerd, Daniel Wynand; Walker, Jane B.
Two groups of Merino sheep were intoxicated separately and at different times with "gousiektebossie" (Pachystigma pygmaeum) until definite symptoms of heart failure were auscultated. Cardiectomy was carried out and some ventricular muscle from I group was stored in 50% glycerol at -20⁰C for about 4 months. Natural actomyosin (n-actomyosin) was subsequently extracted and tested for magnesium, calcium and adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent adenosine triphosphatase (ATP-ase) activity as well as for superprecipitation characteristics. Muscle strips were taken from the other group and stored for 2 weeks in 50% glycerol at -20⁰C, where after it was analysed for an isometric tension-calcium response.
The data showed no difference between gousiekte and control sheep in the sensitivity of the contractile system to the activating effect of calcium ions with respect to isometric tension development. A significant reduction of the magnesium dependent ATP-ase was found for gousiekte n-actomyosin in either the presence or absence of calcium ions. A depressed sensitivity for this enzyme to increasing concentrations of ATP in comparison to controls was also found ([ATP] < 1mM, [MgC1₂] = 1mM). No significant difference could be detected in the sensitivity of the n-actomyosin:ATP-ase system to magnesium. n-Actomyosin:ATP-ase of gousiekte hearts revealed a depressed sensitivity to calcium ions. Gousiekte n-actomyosin also showed a significant depression in the rate of superprecipitation with a concomitant increase in the duration of the clearing phase.
We conclude from these observations that a definite biochemical lesion is induced in the contractile proteins of heart muscle obtained from sheep intoxicated with "gousiektebossie" at the stage of cardiac failure. This condition is characterized by abnormal superprecipitation characteristics and a depressed n-actomyosin:ATP-ase activity, showing a reduced sensitivity to the activating effect of calcium ions.
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