Analysis of ischemic muscle in patients with peripheral artery disease using X-ray spectroscopy

Ryan A. Becker, Kim Cluff, Nithyanandhi Duraisamy, George P. Casale, Iraklis I. Pipinos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a vascular disease caused by atherosclerosis, resulting in decreased blood flow to the lower extremities. The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a standard PAD diagnostic test but only identifies reduced blood flow based on blood pressure differences. The early signs of PAD manifest themselves not only at a clinical level but also at an elemental and biochemical level. However, the biochemical and elemental alterations to PAD muscle are not well understood. The objective of this study was to compare fundamental changes in intracellular elemental compositions between control, claudicating, and critical limb ischemia muscle tissue. Materials and methods Gastrocnemius biopsies from three subjects including one control (ABI ≥ 0.9), one claudicating (0.4 ≤ ABI < 0.9), and one critical limb ischemia patient (ABI < 0.4) were evaluated using a scanning electron microscope and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to quantify differences in elemental compositions. Spectra were collected for five myofibers per specimen. An analysis of variance was performed to identify significant differences in muscle elemental compositions. Results This study revealed that intracellular magnesium and calcium were lower in PAD compared with control myofibers, whereas sulfur was higher. Magnesium and calcium are antagonistic, meaning, if magnesium concentrations go down calcium concentrations should go up. However, our findings do not support this antagonism in PAD. Our analysis found decreases in sodium and potassium, in PAD myofibers. Conclusions These findings may provide insight into the pathologic mechanisms that may operate in ischemic muscle and aid in the development of specialized preventive and rehabilitative treatment plans for PAD patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Muscle damage
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Vascular disease
  • X-ray microanalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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