Morphometric analysis of gastrocnemius muscle biopsies from patients with peripheral arterial disease: Objective grading of muscle degeneration

Kim Cluff, Dimitrios Miserlis, Govindarajan Konda Naganathan, Iraklis I. Pipinos, Panagiotis Koutakis, Ashok Samal, Rodney D. McComb, Jeyamkondan Subbiah, George P. Casale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which affects ~ 10 million Americans, is characterized by atherosclerosis of the noncoronary arteries. PAD produces a progressive accumulation of ischemic injury to the legs, manifested as a gradual degradation of gastrocnemius histology. In this study, we evaluated the hypothesis that quantitative morphological parameters of gastrocnemius myofibers change in a consistent manner during the progression of PAD, provide an objective grading of muscle degeneration in the ischemic limb, and correlate to a clinical stage of PAD. Biopsies were collected with a Bergström needle from PAD patients with claudication (n = 18) and critical limb ischemia (CLI; n = 19) and control patients (n = 19). Myofiber sarcolemmas and myosin heavy chains were labeled for fluorescence detection and quantitative analysis of morphometric variables, including area, roundness, perimeter, equivalent diameter, major and minor axes, solidity, and fiber density. The muscle specimens were separated into training and validation data sets for development of a discriminant model for categorizing muscle samples on the basis of disease severity. The parameters for this model included standard deviation of roundness, standard deviation of solidity of myofibers, and fiber density. For the validation data set, the discriminant model accurately identified control (80.0% accuracy), claudicating (77.7% accuracy), and CLI (88.8% accuracy) patients, with an overall classification accuracy of 82.1%. Myofiber morphometry provided a discriminant model that establishes a correlation between PAD progression and advancing muscle degeneration. This model effectively separated PAD and control patients and provided a grading of muscle degeneration within clinical stages of PAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R291-R299
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Imaging
  • Linear discriminant analysis
  • Myofiber morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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