ABSTRACT: It has long been suggested that in skeletal muscle, the ATP-sensitive K(+) channel (K(ATP)) channel is important in protecting energy levels and that abolishing its activity causes fiber damage and severely impairs function. The responses to a lack of K(ATP) channel activity vary between muscles and fibers, with the severity of the impairment being the highest in the most glycolytic muscle fibers. Furthermore, glycolytic muscle fibers are also expected to face metabolic stress more often than oxidative ones. The objective of this study was to determine whether the t-tubular K(ATP) channel content differs between muscles and fiber types. K(ATP) channel content was estimated using a semiquantitative immunofluorescence approach by staining cross sections from soleus, extensor digitorum longus (EDL), and flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) muscles with anti-Kir6.2 antibody. Fiber types were determined using serial cross sections stained with specific antimyosin I, IIA, IIB, and IIX antibodies. Changes in Kir6.2 content were compared with changes in CaV1.1 content, as this Ca(2+) channel is responsible for triggering Ca(2+) release from sarcoplasmic reticulum. The Kir6.2 content was the lowest in the oxidative soleus and the highest in the glycolytic EDL and FDB. At the individual fiber level, the Kir6.2 content within a muscle was in the order of type IIB > IIX > IIA ≥ I. Interestingly, the Kir6.2 content for a given fiber type was significantly different between soleus, EDL, and FDB, and highest in FDB. Correlations of relative fluorescence intensities from the Kir6.2 and CaV1.1 antibodies were significant for all three muscles. However, the variability in content between the three muscles or individual fibers was much greater for Kir6.2 than for CaV1.1. It is suggested that the t-tubular K(ATP) channel content increases as the glycolytic capacity increases and as the oxidative capacity decreases and that the expression of K(ATP) channels may be linked to how often muscles/fibers face metabolic stress.
AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 06/2011; 301(4):R916-25. · 3.34 Impact Factor