Lund University is celebrating 350 years.


Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

The expression of myosin heavy chain (MHC) genes in human skeletal muscle is related to metabolic characteristics involved in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.

  • Anders H Olsson
  • Tina Rönn
  • Tarq Elgzyri
  • Ola Hansson
  • Karl-Fredrik Eriksson
  • Leif Groop
  • Allan Vaag
  • Pernille Poulsen
  • Charlotte Ling
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 275-281
Publication/Series: Molecular Genetics and Metabolism
Volume: 103
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Type 2 diabetes patients exhibit a reduction in oxidative muscle fibres and an increase in glycolytic muscle fibres. In this study, we investigated whether both genetic and non-genetic factors influence the mRNA expression levels of three myosin heavy chain (MHC) genes represented in different fibre types. Specifically, we examined the MHC7 (slow-twitch oxidative fibre), MHCIIa (fast-twitch oxidative fibre) and MHCIIx/d (fast-twitch glycolytic fibre) genes in human skeletal muscle. We further investigated the use of MHC mRNA expression as a proxy to determine fibre-type composition, as measured by traditional ATP staining. Two cohorts of age-matched Swedish men were studied to determine the relationship of muscle mRNA expression of MHC7, MHCIIa, and MHCIIx/d with muscle fibre composition. A classical twin approach, including young and elderly Danish twin pairs, was utilised to examine if differences in expression levels were due to genetic or environmental factors. Although MHCIIx/d mRNA expression correlated positively with the level of type IIx/d muscle fibres in the two cohorts (P<0.05), a relatively low magnitude of correlation suggests that mRNA does not fully correlate with fibre-type composition. Heritability estimates and genetic analysis suggest that the levels of MHC7, MHCIIa and MHCIIx/d expression are primarily under non-genetic influence, and MHCIIa indicated an age-related decline. PGC-1α exhibited a positive relationship with the expression of all three MHC genes (P<0.05); meanwhile, PGC-1β related positively with MHCIIa expression and negatively with MHCIIx/d expression (P<0.05). While MHCIIa expression related positively with insulin-stimulated glucose uptake (P<0.01), MHCIIx/d expression related negatively with insulin-stimulated glucose uptake (P<0.05). Our findings suggest that the expression levels of the MHC genes are associated with age and both PGC-1α and PGC-1β and indicate that the MHC genes may to some extent be used to determine fibre-type composition in human skeletal muscle.


  • Endocrinology and Diabetes


  • Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Clinical Vascular Disease Research
  • ISSN: 1096-7192
Tina Rönn
E-mail: tina [dot] ronn [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Assistant researcher

Epigenetics and Diabetes

+46 40 39 12 18

CRC 91-12-021


Lund University Diabetes Centre, CRC, SUS Malmö, Entrance 72, House 91:12. SE-205 02 Malmö. Telephone: +46 40 39 10 00