Since defective regulation of ion transport could initiate or contribute to the abnormal cellular function in myotonic dystrophy (MyD), Na+/K(+)-ATPase and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+)-ATPase were examined in skeletal muscle and cultured skeletal muscle cells of controls and MyD patients. Na+/K(+)-ATPase was investigated by measuring ouabain binding and the activities of Na+/K(+)-ATPase and K(+)-dependent 3-O-methylfluorescein phosphate (3-O-MFPase). SR Ca(2+)-ATPase was analysed by e.l.i.s.a., Ca(2+)-dependent phosphorylation and its activities with ATP and 3-O-methylfluorescein phosphatase (3-O-MFP). In MyD muscle the K(+)-dependent 3-O-MFPase activity and the activity and concentration of SR Ca(2+)-ATPase were decreased by 40%. In cultured muscle cells from MyD patients the activities as well as the concentration of both Na+/K(+)-ATPase and SR Ca(2+)-ATPase were reduced by about 30-40%. The ouabain-binding constant and the molecular activities, i.e. catalytic-centre activities with ATP or 3-O-MFP, of Na+/K(+)-ATPase and SR Ca(2+)-ATPase were similar in muscle as well as in cultured cells from both controls and MyD patients. Thus the decreased activity of both ATPases in MyD muscle is caused by a reduction in the number of their molecules. To check whether the deficiency of ATP-dependent ion pumps is a general feature of the pathology of MyD, we examined erythrocytes from the same patients. In these cells the Ca2+ uptake rate and the Ca(2+)-ATPase activity were lower than in controls, but the Ca(2+)-ATPase concentration was normal. Thus the reduced Ca(2+)-ATPase activity is caused by a decrease in the molecular activity of the ion pump. The Na+/K(+)-ATPase activity is also lower in erythrocytes of MyD patients. It is concluded that the observed alterations in ion pumps may contribute to the pathological phenomena in the muscle and other tissues in patients with MyD.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.