Skeletal muscle transcriptional networks linked to type I myofiber grouping in Parkinson's disease

Academic Article


  • Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder impacting cognition, movement, and quality of life in >10 million individuals worldwide. We recently characterized and quantified a skeletal muscle pathology in PD represented by exaggerated type I myofiber grouping presumed to result from denervation-reinnervation processes. Our previous findings indicated that impaired neuromuscular junction integrity may be involved in type I grouping, which is associated with excessive motor unit activation during weight-bearing tasks. In this study, we performed transcriptional profiling to test the hypothesis that type I grouping severity would link to distinct gene expression networks. We generated transcriptome-wide poly(A) RNA-Seq data from skeletal muscle of individuals with PD [n = 12 (9 men, 3 women); 67 ± 2 yr], age- and sex-matched older adults (n = 12; 68 ± 2 yr), and sex-matched young adults (n = 12; 30 ± 1 yr). Differentially expressed genes were evaluated across cohorts. Weighted gene correlation network analysis (WGCNA) was performed to identify gene networks most correlated with indicators of abnormal type I grouping. Among coexpression networks mapping to phenotypes pathologically increased in PD muscle, one network was highly significantly correlated to type I myofiber group size and another to percentage of type I myofibers found in groups. Annotation of coexpressed networks revealed that type I grouping is associated with altered expression of genes involved in neural development, postsynaptic signaling, cell cycle regulation and cell survival, protein and energy metabolism, inflammation/immunity, and posttranscriptional regulation (microRNAs). These transcriptomic findings suggest that skeletal muscle may play an active role in signaling to promote myofiber survival, reinnervation, and remodeling, perhaps to an extreme in PD.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Despite our awareness of the impact of Parkinson's disease (PD) on motor function for over two centuries, limited attention has focused on skeletal muscle. We previously identified type I myofiber grouping, a novel indicator of muscle dysfunction in PD, presumably a result of heightened rates of denervation/reinnervation. Using transcriptional profiling to identify networks associated with this phenotype, we provide insight into potential mechanistic roles of skeletal muscle in signaling to promote its survival in PD.
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    Author List

  • Lavin KM; Sealfon SC; McDonald MLN; Roberts BM; Wilk K; Nair VD; Ge Y; Lakshman Kumar P; Windham ST; Bamman MM
  • Start Page

  • 229
  • End Page

  • 240
  • Volume

  • 128
  • Issue

  • 2