Increased levels of apoptosis in gastrocnemius skeletal muscle in patients with peripheral arterial disease

Robert G. Mitchell, Brian D. Duscha, Jennifer L. Robbins, Shelley I. Redfern, Jayer Chung, Daniel R. Bensimhon, William E. Kraus, William R. Hiatt, Judith G. Regensteiner, Brian H. Annex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Intermittent claudication (IC) is the major clinical manifestation of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Apoptosis has been linked to skeletal muscle pathophysiology in other chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure. This study tested the hypothesis that there would be increased levels of apoptosis in the skeletal muscle of patients with PAD compared with control individuals. In total, 26 individuals with PAD and 28 age-appropriate controls underwent studies of peak oxygen consumption (peak VO2) and a gastrocnemius muscle biopsy in the most symptomatic leg. Muscle biopsies were analyzed for apoptosis and caspase-3 activity. Patients with PAD had a reduced peak VO2 compared with controls. Apoptosis was increased in those with PAD compared with age-appropriate controls (3.83% ± 2.6 vs 1.53% ± 0.96; p<0.001). In conclusion, PAD is associated with increased levels of apoptosis in the peripheral skeletal muscle. Further study is required to ascertain whether apoptosis plays a role in decreased functional capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
JournalVascular Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Caspase
  • Endothelial cells
  • Exercise
  • Intermittent claudication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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