Transcriptional profile of denervated vastus lateralis muscle derived from a patient 8 months after spinal cord injury: a case-report

Authors: Rosa Mancinelli1,2, Helmut Kern3,4, Stefania Fulle1,2, Ugo Carraro5,6, Sandra Zampieri 4,5, Rita La Rovere1,2, Giorgio Fanò1,7 and Tiziana Pietrangelo1,7

Source: International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2011 Jul-Sep;24(3):749-59.

Keywords: spinal cord injury, transcriptoma, atrophy


A lack of motor neurons abolishes both neurotrophic factor secretion and contractile activity in muscle, which impairs mass, contractile properties, and fibre-type characteristics of the muscle. However, the molecular pathways that can be stimulated or repressed in the scenario of spinal cord injury remain unknown. We investigated for the first time the transcriptional profile of a young male patient 8 months after spinal cord injury. Adaptive metabolic changes of complete denervated skeletal muscle were revealed. In particular, the main molecular pathways involved include metabolic and proteolitic pathways, mitochondrial and synaptic function, calcium homeostasis, sarcomere and anchorage structures. Our data depict the molecular signalling still present in complete denervated skeletal muscle fibres a few months after spinal cord injury. These data could be of interest also to design a specific therapeutic approach aimed at the electrical-stimulation of severe atrophied skeletal muscle.


1 Department of Neurosciences and Imaging, University ‘G. d'Annunzio’ Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy and Interuniversity Institute of Myology (IIM)
2 Center for Excellence on Aging (CeSI), G d’Annunzio Foundation, Chieti, Italy
3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wilhelminenspital, Wien, Austria
4 Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Electrical Stimulation and Physical Rehabilitation, Wien, Austria
5 Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua, Italy

Italian C.N.R. Institute of Neuroscience, University of Padua, Italy

7 Clinical Research Centre (CRC), G d’Annunzio Foundation, Chieti, Italy