A Global Loss of Dio2 Leads to Unexpected Changes in Function and Fiber Types of Slow Skeletal Muscle in Male Mice

Author Department

Endocrinology; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



The type 2 iodothyronine-deiodinase (D2) enzyme converts T4 to T3, and mice deficient in this enzyme (D2KO mice) have decreased T3 derived from T4 in skeletal muscle despite normal circulating T3 levels. Because slow skeletal muscle is particularly susceptible to changes in T3 levels, we expected that D2 inactivation would result in more pronounced slow-muscle characteristics in the soleus muscle, mirroring hypothyroidism. However, ex vivo studies of D2KO soleus revealed higher rates of twitch contraction and relaxation, while resistance to fatigue was reduced. Immunostaining of D2KO soleus showed that these properties were associated with changes in muscle fiber type composition, including a marked increase in the number of fast, glycolytic type IIB fibers. D2KO soleus muscle fibers also had a larger cross sectional area and this correlated with increased myonuclear accretion in myotubes formed from D2KO skeletal muscle precursor cells differentiated in vitro. Consistent with our functional findings, D2KO soleus gene expression was markedly different from that in hypothyroid WT mice. Comparison of gene expression between euthyroid WT and D2KO mice indicated that PGC-1α, a known T3-dependent regulator of slow muscle fiber type, was decreased by ∼50% in D2KO soleus. Disruption of Dio2 in the C2C12 myoblast cell line also led to a significant decrease in PGC-1α expression and a faster muscle phenotype upon differentiation. These results indicate that D2 loss leads to significant changes in soleus contractile function and fiber type composition that are inconsistent with local hypothyroidism and suggest that reduced levels of PCG-1α may contribute to the observed phenotypical changes.