Thermal injury impairs cardiac protein synthesis and is associated with alterations in translation initiation

Charles H. Lang, Robert A. Frost, Thomas C. Vary

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20 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to determine whether burn injury decreases myocardial protein synthesis and potential contributing mechanisms for this impairment. To address this aim, thermal injury was produced by a 40% total body surface area full-thickness scald burn in anesthetized rats, and the animals were studied 24 h later. Burn decreased the in vivo-determined rate of myocardial protein synthesis and translation efficiency by 25% but did not alter the protein synthetic rate in skeletal muscle. To identify potential mechanisms responsible for regulating mRNA translation in cardiac muscle, we examined several eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) and elongation factors (eEFs). Burn failed to alter eIF2B activity or the total amount or phosphorylation status of either eIF2α or eIF2Bε in heart. In contrast, hearts from burned rats demonstrated 1) an increased binding of the translational repressor 4E-BP1 with eIF4E, 2) a decreased amount of eIF4E associated with eIF4G, and 3) a decreased amount of the hyperphosphorylated γ-form of 4E-BP1. These changes in eIF4E availability were not seen in gastrocnemius muscle where burn injury did not decrease protein synthesis. Furthermore, constitutive phosphorylation of mTOR, S6K1, the ribosomal protein S6, and eIF4G were also decreased in hearts from burned rats. Burn did not appear to adversely affect elongation because there was no significant difference in the myocardial content of eEF1α or eEF2 or the phosphorylation state of eEF2. The above-mentioned burn-induced changes in mRNA translation were associated with an impairment of in vitro myocardial performance. Finally, 24 h postburn, the cardiac mRNA content of IL-1β, IL-6, and high-mobility group protein B1 (but not TNF-α) was increased. In summary, these data suggest that thermal injury specifically decreases cardiac protein synthesis in part by decreasing mRNA translation efficiency resulting from an impairment in translation initiation associated with alterations in eIF4E availability and S6K1 activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R740-R750
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4 55-4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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