Lees, Matthew J. Wilson, Oliver J. Hind, Karen
& Ispoglou, Theocharis (2019). Muscle quality as a complementary prognostic tool in conjunction with sarcopenia assessment in younger and older individuals. European Journal of Applied Physiology 119
Author(s) from Durham
This pilot study investigated differences in lean tissue mass, muscle strength, muscle quality (strength per unit of muscle mass; MQ), and functional performance in healthy younger and older individuals. The most robust predictors of appendicular lean mass (ALM) were then determined in each group.
Fifty younger (18–45 years) and 50 older (60–80 years) participants completed tests of upper and lower body strength alongside body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry from which upper- and lower-body MQ were estimated. Available cut-points for older people were used to determine low upper-body MQ in both groups. Low lower-body MQ was determined as at least two standard deviations below the mean of the younger group. Functional performance was assessed by gait speed. Sarcopenia was identified using two established definitions.
Upper and lower body strength, ALM, lower-body MQ and gait speed were significantly higher in the younger group (all p < 0.002). Sarcopenia was identified in 2–4% of the older group. Low upper-body MQ was evident in 32% and 42% of the younger and older group, respectively. Low lower-body MQ was observed in 4% of younger participants, and 50% of older participants. In both groups, the most robust predictors of ALM were upper and lower body strength (young R2 = 0.74, 0.82; older R2 = 0.68, 0.72).
Low MQ despite low prevalence rates of sarcopenia in both groups suggests a need for age-specific MQ cut-points. Muscle quality assessments might be useful complementary prognostic tools alongside existing sarcopenia definitions.