Muscle apoptosis is induced in pressure-induced deep tissue injury

Parco M. Siu, Wing Cheung Eric Tam, Bee T. Teng, Xiao M. Pei, Joann W. Ng, Iris F. Benzie, Arthur F. Mak

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Pressure ulcer is a complex and significant health problem. Although the factors including pressure, shear, and ischemia have been identified in the etiology of pressure ulcer, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to the development of pressure ulcer are unclear. This study tested the hypothesis that the early-onset molecular regulation of pressure ulcer involves apoptosis in muscle tissue. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to an in vivo protocol to mimic pressure-induced deep tissue injury. Static pressure was applied to the tibialis region of the right limb of the rats for 6 h each day on two consecutive days. The compression force was continuously monitored by a three-axial force transducer equipped in the compression indentor. The contralateral uncompressed limb served as intra-animal control. Tissues underneath the compressed region were collected for histological analysis, terminal dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL), cell death ELISA, immunocytochemical staining, and real-time RT-PCR gene expression analysis. The compressed muscle tissue generally demonstrated degenerative characteristics. TUNEL/dystrophin labeling showed a significant increase in the apoptotic muscle-related nuclei, and cell death ELISA demonstrated a threefold elevation of apoptotic DNA fragmentation in the compressed muscle tissue relative to control. Positive immunoreactivities of cleaved caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2 were evident in compressed muscle. The mRNA contents of Bax, caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9 were found to be higher in the compressed muscle tissue than control. These results demonstrated that apoptosis is activated in muscle tissue following prolonged moderate compression. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that muscle apoptosis is involved in the underlying mechanism of pressure-induced deep tissue injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1266-1275
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


  • Bed sore
  • Caspase
  • Muscle damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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