Dysregulated Genes, MicroRNAs, Biological Pathways, and Gastrocnemius Muscle Fiber Types Associated With Progression of Peripheral Artery Disease: A Preliminary Analysis

Sunil K. Saini, Daniel Pérez-Cremades, Henry S. Cheng, Kate Kosmac, Charlotte A. Peterson, Lingyu Li, Lu Tian, Gengfu Dong, Kevin K. Wu, Brian Bouverat, Stephanie E. Wohlgemuth, Terence Ryan, Robert L. Sufit, Luigi Ferrucci, Mary M. McDermott, Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Mark W. Feinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is associated with gastrocnemius muscle abnormalities. However, the biological pathways associated with gastrocnemius muscle dysfunction and their associations with progression of PAD are largely un-known. This study characterized differential gene and microRNA (miRNA) expression in gastrocnemius biopsies from people without PAD compared with those with PAD. Participants with PAD included those with and without PAD progression. METHODS AND RESULTS: mRNA and miRNA sequencing were performed to identify differentially expressed genes, differentially expressed miRNAs, mRNA-miRNA interactions, and associated biological pathways for 3 sets of comparisons: (1) PAD progression (n=7) versus non-PAD (n=7); (2) PAD no progression (n=6) versus non-PAD; and (3) PAD progression versus PAD no progression. Immunohistochemistry was performed to determine gastrocnemius muscle fiber types and muscle fiber size. Differentially expressed genes and differentially expressed miRNAs were more abundant in the comparison of PAD progression versus non-PAD compared with PAD with versus without progression. Among the top significant cellular pathways in subjects with PAD progression were muscle contraction or development, transforming growth factor-beta, growth/differentia-tion factor, and activin signaling, inflammation, cellular senescence, and notch signaling. Subjects with PAD progression had increased frequency of smaller Type 2a gastrocnemius muscle fibers in exploratory analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Humans with PAD progression exhibited greater differences in the number of gene and miRNA expression, biological pathways, and Type 2a muscle fiber size compared with those without PAD. Fewer differences were observed between people with PAD without progression and control patients without PAD. Further study is needed to confirm whether the identified transcripts may serve as potential biomarkers for diagnosis and progression of PAD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere023085
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley.


  • differentially expressed genes (DEG)
  • gastrocnemius muscle
  • peripheral artery disease (PAD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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