Transcriptional abnormalities of hamstring muscle contractures in children with cerebral palsy

Lucas R. Smith, Henry G. Chambers, Shankar Subramaniam, Richard L. Lieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Cerebral palsy (CP) is an upper motor neuron disease that results in a spectrum of movement disorders. Secondary to the neurological lesion, muscles from patients with CP are often spastic and form debilitating contractures that limit range of motion and joint function. With no genetic component, the pathology of skeletal muscle in CP is a response to aberrant complex neurological input in ways that are not fully understood. This study was designed to gain further understanding of the skeletal muscle response in CP using transcriptional profiling correlated with functional measures to broadly investigate muscle adaptations leading to mechanical deficits. Biospsies were obtained from both the gracilis and semitendinosus muscles from a cohort of patients with CP (n = 10) and typically developing patients (n = 10) undergoing surgery. Biopsies were obtained to define the unique expression profile of the contractures and passive mechanical testing was conducted to determine stiffness values in previously published work. Affymetrix HG-U133A 2.0 chips (n = 40) generated expression data, which was validated for selected transcripts using quantitative real-time PCR. Chips were clustered based on their expression and those from patients with CP clustered separately. Significant genes were determined conservatively based on the overlap of three summarization algorithms (n = 1,398). Significantly altered genes were analyzed for over-representation among gene ontologies and muscle specific networks. The majority of altered transcripts were related to increased extracellular matrix expression in CP and a decrease in metabolism and ubiquitin ligase activity. The increase in extracellular matrix products was correlated with mechanical measures demonstrating the importance in disability. These data lay a framework for further studies and development of novel therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere40686
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 16 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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