Genomic Biomarkers Can Provide a Deeper Understanding of Recurrent Pressure Injuries

Letitia Y. Graves, Katelyn R. Schwartz, Josie Shiff, Ernest R. Chan, Marinella Galea, Mary K. Henzel, Christine Olney, Kath M. Bogie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE To identify genetic biomarkers predisposing individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) to recurrent pressure injuries (PIs). METHODS Repeated measures of the transcriptome profile of veterans with SCI at three Veterans Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders Centers. Exclusion criteria included having significant active systemic disease at time of enrollment. Researchers obtained comprehensive profiles of clinical and health factors and demographic information relevant to PI history at enrollment and at each follow-up visit by reviewing patients' medical charts. Whole blood samples were collected at 6- to 12-month intervals for 2 to 4 years. In addition to DNA profiling with whole genome sequencing of the patients, RNA sequencing was performed to assess pathways associated with PI risk. RESULTS Whole genome sequencing analysis identified 260 genes that showed increased prevalence of single-nucleotide variations in exonic regions with high (>20) combined annotation-dependent depletion scores between persons with high versus low intramuscular adipose tissue levels when cross-referenced with persons who had recurrent PIs. Gene set enrichment analysis using Hallmark and KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) gene sets of these candidate genes revealed enrichment in genes encoding proteins involved in fatty acid metabolism (P <.01). Further, RNA sequencing revealed upregulated activity in biological senescence pathways and downregulated activity in antimicrobial protection pathways. CONCLUSIONS Genomic biomarkers may complement electronic health records to support management of complex interactive health issues such as risk of recurrent PIs in people with SCI. These findings may also be leveraged for homogeneous phenotypic grouping of higher-risk individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-539
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Skin and Wound Care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • RNA sequencing
  • biomarkers
  • pressure injury
  • spinal cord injury
  • transcriptomics
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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