Non-invasive assessment of lower extremity muscle composition after incomplete spinal cord injury

P. K. Shah, C. M. Gregory, J. E. Stevens, N. C. Pathare, A. Jayaraman, A. L. Behrman, G. A. Walter, K. Vandenborne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Objective: (1) To quantify intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) content of the soleus muscle. (2) To assess the T2 relaxation rates in the lower extremity skeletal muscles in persons with incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). Setting: Academic Institution, Florida. Methods: Eight subjects (42±10 years old; 70±12 kg; 176±10 cm) with chronic (17±9 months post injury) motor SCI (C4-T12; ASIA C or D) and eight matched healthy controls were tested. Localized unsuppressed proton spectroscopy (H-MRS) was performed to estimate total lipid content and individual lipid components; IMCL and extramyocellular lipid (EMCL) from the soleus muscle. T2-weighted imaging of lower extremity muscles yielded muscle T2 rates. Results: The IMCL content of the soleus muscle was 3.3 times higher in the patient group as compared to controls (P=0.002; 0.0401 (0.0234-0.0849) versus 0.0123 (0.0090-0.0175)). Similarly, EMCL measures were 4.5 times higher as compared to the controls (P=0.002). Significant differences were observed in the T2 relaxation times of the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles (P<0.05). Conclusion: The increased levels of IMCL might interfere with the glucose uptake in skeletal muscle; potentially predisposing persons with incomplete SCI to the development of peripheral insulin resistance. Marked elevations in the T2 relaxation times of the locomotor muscles are reflective of an altered muscle composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-570
Number of pages6
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Magnetic resonance
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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