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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Corticosteroids decrease mRNA levels of SERCA pumps, whereas they increase sarcolipin mRNA in the rat diaphragm.

1. In order to explore the potential role of the sarcoplasmic-endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA)-type pumps and of their modulators phospholamban (PLB) and sarcolipin (SLN) in the functional alterations of the diaphragm induced by corticosteroid treatment, expression of SERCA, PLB and SLN was assessed by RT-PCR in the diaphragm of rats treated daily for 5 days either with triamcinolone (80 mg kg-1, n = 8) or with saline (control; 0.6 ml, n = 8). 2. Triamcinolone treatment reduced the normalised overall amount of all SERCA mRNA in diaphragm by 70 % compared to controls (P < 0.05). This reduction was accounted for by a relatively larger decrease in the SERCA1 mRNA (-69 %, P < 0.05) whilst the decrease in SERCA2 mRNA (-49 %, P = 0.09) did not reach statistical significance. As a result the relative proportion of SERCA2 mRNA was increased from 43 +/- 7 % in control diaphragm to 52 +/- 4 % after triamcinolone treatment (P < 0.05). 3. Only the adult isoform of SERCA1 (i.e. SERCA1a) mRNA was found in the diaphragm of the 15-week-old control rats. Furthermore, triamcinolone treatment resulted in reduced levels of SERCA2a (-40 %, P < 0.05) and increased levels of SLN mRNA (+100 %, P < 0.05), while the decrease in PLB mRNA (-31 %, P = 0.277) did not reach statistical significance. SERCA1b, SERCA2b and SERCA3 mRNA levels fell below the detection limit in the diaphragm of both control and triamcinolone-treated rats. 4. Compared to control diaphragm, control rat heart showed a relatively high PLB/(SERCA1 + SERCA2) mRNA ratio of 7.88 while this ratio amounted only to 0.16 in control extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle. Remarkably, the SLN/(SERCA1 + SERCA2) mRNA ratio in normal cardiac muscle (0.96) was nearly the same as in diaphragm, but in EDL it amounted to only 0.05 that in diaphragm. This indicates the very low expression of SLN in rat EDL. 5. These data reveal that considerable alterations in SERCA mRNA levels accompany the functional changes seen in diaphragm after corticosteroid treatment. The relatively larger decrease in SERCA1 mRNA is in agreement with the selective type II fibre atrophy previously observed in the diaphragm of triamcinolone-treated rats, but the magnitude of SERCA alterations is more pronounced than expected on the basis of the structural changes in the diaphragm. The increase in SLN mRNA levels may represent a compensatory mechanism.[1]


  1. Corticosteroids decrease mRNA levels of SERCA pumps, whereas they increase sarcolipin mRNA in the rat diaphragm. Gayan-Ramirez, G., Vanzeir, L., Wuytack, F., Decramer, M. J. Physiol. (Lond.) (2000) [Pubmed]
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