In 2008, we published an article arguing that the age-related loss of muscle strength is only partially explained by the reduction in muscle mass and that other physiologic factors explain muscle weakness in older adults (Clark BC, Manini TM. Sarcopenia =/= dynapenia. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2008;63:829–834). Accordingly, we proposed that these events (strength and mass loss) be defined independently, leaving the term “sarcopenia” to be used in its original context to describe the age-related loss of muscle mass. We subsequently coined the term “dynapenia” to describe the age-related loss of muscle strength and power. This article will give an update on both the biological and clinical literature on dynapenia—serving to best synthesize this translational topic. Additionally, we propose a working decision algorithm for defining dynapenia. This algorithm is specific to screening for and defining dynapenia using age, presence or absence of risk factors, a grip strength screening, and if warranted a test for knee extension strength. A definition for a single risk factor such as dynapenia will provide information in building a risk profile for the complex etiology of physical disability. As such, this approach mimics the development of risk profiles for cardiovascular disease that include such factors as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, hyperglycemia, etc. Because of a lack of data, the working decision algorithm remains to be fully developed and evaluated. However, these efforts are expected to provide a specific understanding of the role that dynapenia plays in the loss of physical function and increased risk for disability among older adults.
Strength; Weakness; Atrophy; Function; Disability
Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass, is a significant public health concern that continues to grow in relevance as the population ages. Certain conditions have the strong potential to coincide with sarcopenia to accelerate the progression of muscle atrophy in older adults. Among these conditions are co-morbid diseases common to older individuals such as cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and peripheral artery disease. Furthermore, behaviors such as poor nutrition and physical inactivity are well-known to contribute to sarcopenia development. However, we argue that these behaviors are not inherent to the development of sarcopenia but rather accelerate its progression. In the present review, we discuss how these factors affect systemic and cellular mechanisms that contribute to skeletal muscle atrophy. In addition, we describe gaps in the literature concerning the role of these factors in accelerating sarcopenia progression. Elucidating biochemical pathways related to accelerated muscle atrophy may allow for improved discovery of therapeutic treatments related to sarcopenia.
Aging; Proteolysis; Satellite Cells; HIV; COPD; Disability
Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia) leads to a decline in physical function and frailty in the elderly. Among the many proposed underlying causes of sarcopenia, mitochondrial dysfunction is inherent in a variety of aged tissues. The intent of this study was to examine the effect of aging on key groups of regulatory proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and how this relates to physical performance in two groups of sedentary elderly participants, classified as high- and low-functioning based on the Short Physical Performance Battery test. Muscle mass was decreased by 38% and 30% in low-functioning elderly (LFE) participants when compared to young and high-functioning elderly (HFE) participants, respectively, and positively correlated to physical performance. Mitochondrial respiration in permeabilized muscle fibers was reduced (41%) in the LFE group when compared to the young, and this was associated with a 30% decline in COX activity. Levels of key metabolic regulators, SIRT3 and PGC-1α were significantly reduced (50%) in both groups of elderly participants when compared to young. Similarly, the fusion protein OPA1 was lower in muscle from elderly subjects, however no changes were detected in Mfn2, Drp1 or Fis1 among the groups. In contrast, protein import machinery (PIM) components Tom22 and cHsp70 were increased in the LFE group when compared to the young. This study suggests that aging in skeletal muscle is associated with impaired mitochondrial function and altered biogenesis pathways, and that this may contribute to muscle atrophy and the decline in muscle performance observed in the elderly population.
aging; sarcopenia; mitochondria; skeletal muscle; PGC-1α
The Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study is a Phase III randomized controlled clinical trial (Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01072500) that will provide definitive evidence regarding the effect of physical activity (PA) on major mobility disability in older adults (70–89 years old) who have compromised physical function. This paper describes the methods employed in the delivery of the LIFE Study PA intervention, providing insight into how we promoted adherence and monitored the fidelity of treatment. Data are presented on participants’ motives and self-perceptions at the onset of the trial along with accelerometry data on patterns of PA during exercise training. Prior to the onset of training, 31.4% of participants noted slight conflict with being able to meet the demands of the program and 6.4% indicated that the degree of conflict would be moderate. Accelerometry data collected during PA training revealed that the average intensity – 1,555 counts/minute for men and 1,237 counts/minute for women – was well below the cutoff point used to classify exercise as being of moderate intensity or higher for adults. Also, a sizable subgroup required one or more rest stops. These data illustrate that it is not feasible to have a single exercise prescription for older adults with compromised function. Moreover, the concept of what constitutes “moderate” exercise or an appropriate volume of work is dictated by the physical capacities of each individual and the level of comfort/stability in actually executing a specific prescription.
aging; accelerometry; physical disability; compromised physical function; older adults
The decline in activity energy expenditure underlies a range of age-associated pathological conditions, neuromuscular and neurological impairments, disability, and mortality. The majority (90%) of the energy needs of the human body are met by mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). OXPHOS is dependent on the coordinated expression and interaction of genes encoded in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. We examined the role of mitochondrial genomic variation in free-living activity energy expenditure (AEE) and physical activity levels (PAL) by sequencing the entire (~16.5 kilobases) mtDNA from 138 Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study participants. Among the common mtDNA variants, the hypervariable region 2 m.185G>A variant was significantly associated with AEE (p=0.001) and PAL (p=0.0005) after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Several unique nonsynonymous variants were identified in the extremes of AEE with some occurring at highly conserved sites predicted to affect protein structure and function. Of interest is the p.T194M, CytB substitution in the lower extreme of AEE occurring at a residue in the Qi site of complex III. Among participants with low activity levels, the burden of singleton variants was 30% higher across the entire mtDNA and OXPHOS complex I when compared to those having moderate to high activity levels. A significant pooled variant association across the hypervariable 2 region was observed for AEE and PAL. These results suggest that mtDNA variation is associated with free-living AEE in older persons and may generate new hypotheses by which specific mtDNA complexes, genes, and variants may contribute to the maintenance of activity levels in late life.
metabolic rate; energy expenditure; mitochondria; mtDNA; oxidative phosphorylation; DNA sequencing
Aerobic exercise has been suggested to ameliorate aging-related decline in humans. Recently, evidence has indicated chronological aging is associated with decreases in measures of interhemispheric inhibition during unimanual movements, but that such decreases may be mitigated by long-term physical fitness. The present study investigated measures of ipsilateral (right) primary motor cortex activity during right-hand movements using functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Healthy, right-handed participant groups were comprised of 12 sedentary older adults, 12 physically active older adults, and 12 young adults. Active older adults and younger adults evidenced longer ipsilateral silent periods (iSP) and less positive BOLD of ipsilateral motor cortex (iM1) as compared to sedentary older adults. Across groups, duration of iSP from TMS was inversely correlated with BOLD activity in iM1 during unimanual movement. These findings suggest that increased physical activity may have a role in decreasing aging-related losses of interhemispheric inhibition.
Aging; Physical activity; fMRI; TMS; Interhemispheric communication
Very little is known about the longitudinal changes in energy requirements in late life. The purposes of this study were to: (1) determine the energy requirements in late life and how they changed during a 7 year time-span, (2) determine whether changes in fat free mass (FFM) were related to changes in resting metabolic rate (RMR), and (3) determine the accuracy of predicted total energy expenditure (TEE) to measured TEE.
TEE was assessed via doubly labeled water (DLW) technique in older adults in both 1999 (n = 302; age: 74 ± 2.9 yrs) and again in 2006 (n = 87 age: 82 ± 3.1 yrs). RMR was measured with indirect calorimetry, and body composition was assessed with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.
The energy requirements in the 9th decade of life were 2208 ± 376 kcal/d for men and 1814 ± 337 kcal/d for women. This was a significant decrease from the energy requirements in the 8th decade of life in men (2482 ± 476 kcal/d vs. 2208 ± 376 kcal/d) but not in women (1892 ± 271 kcal/d vs. 1814 ± 337 kcal/d). In addition to TEE, RMR, and activity EE (AEE) also decreased in men, but not women, while FFM decreased in both men and women. The changes in FFM were correlated with changes in RMR for men (r = 0.49, p < 0.05) but not for women (r = −0.08, ns). Measured TEE was similar to Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) predicted TEE for men (2208 ± 56 vs. 2305 ± 35 kcal/d) and women (1814 ± 42 vs. 1781 ± 20 kcal/d). However, measured TEE was different than the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted TEE in men (2208 ± 56 vs. 2915 ± 31 kcal/d (p < 0.05)) and women (1814 ± 42 vs. 2315 ± 21 kcal/d (p < 0.05)).
TEE, RMR and AEE decreased in men, but not women, from the 8th to 9th decade of life. The DRI equation to predict TEE was comparable to measured TEE, while the WHO equation over-predicted TEE in our elderly population.
Doubly labeled water; Energy expenditure; Elderly; Energy requirements
Dynapenia (pronounced dahy-nuh-pē-nē-a, Greek translation for poverty of strength, power, or force) is the age-associated loss of muscle strength that is not caused by neurologic or muscular diseases. Dynapenia predisposes older adults to an increased risk for functional limitations and mortality. For the past several decades, the literature has largely focused on muscle size as the primary cause of dynapenia; however, recent findings have clearly demonstrated that muscle size plays a relatively minor role. Conversely, subclinical deficits in the structure and function of the nervous system and/or impairments in the intrinsic force-generating properties of skeletal muscle are potential antecedents to dynapenia. This review highlights in the contributors to dynapenia and the etiology and risk factors that predispose individuals to dynapenia. In addition, we address the role of nutrition in the muscular and neurologic systems for the preservation of muscle strength throughout the life span.
Aging; Strength; Weakness; Function; Muscle; Disability; Sarcopenia; Dynapenia
The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of blood flow restriction (BFR) on muscle oxygenation during low-intensity resistance exercise as well as postexercise expression of molecules related to physiological angiogenesis.
Using a randomized cross-over design, six apparently healthy young adults (22 ± 1 yr) performed 120 unilateral knee extensions at 40% of 1 repetition maximum with and without BFR (CNTRL). Near-infrared spectroscopy was used to measure oxygenation of the vastus lateralis during exercise. Serum and muscle expression of Post–Resistance vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were determined preexercise, 4 h postexercise, and 24 h postexercise. Transcript (mRNA) expression of VEGF and other angiogenic genes was also determined.
BFR increased muscle hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations during exercise (14.4 ± 1.6 vs. 0.9 ± 1.6, P = 0.002), driven largely by an increase in deoxygenated Hb (11.0 ± 2.5 vs. 0.5 ± 1.1, P = 0.030). BFR also increased (P < 0.05) transcript expression of VEGF, VEGF-R2, hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha, inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS), and neuronal NOS. The most dramatic change in response to BFR was an increase in VEGF mRNA at 4 h postexercise (4.1 ± 0.6 vs. 0.6 ± 0.2-fold change, P = 0.028). Compared with control, transcript expression of endothelial NOS, serum VEGF, or muscle protein expression of VEGF was not altered in response to BFR (P > 0.05).
Acute BFR increases postexercise expression of mRNA related to skeletal muscle angiogenesis, plausibly in response to changes in muscle Hb concentrations.
BFR; KAATSU; SKELETAL MUSCLE; RESISTANCE EXERCISE; NIRS; VEGF; NOS
To assess the association between angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEis) and improvements in the physical function of older adults in response to chronic exercise training.
Secondary analysis of the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Pilot (LIFE-P) study, a multisite randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effects of chronic exercise on the physical function of older adults at risk for mobility disability.
Four academic research centers within the United States.
Four hundred twenty-four individuals aged 70 to 89 with mild to moderate functional impairments categorized for this analysis as ACEi users, users of other antihypertensive drugs, or antihypertensive nonusers.
A 12-month intervention of structured physical activity (PA) or health education promoting successful aging (SA).
Change in walking speed during a 400-m test and performance on a battery of short-duration mobility tasks (Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB)).
Physical activity significantly improved the adjusted walking speed of ACEi users (P < .001) but did not of nonusers. PA improved the adjusted SPPB score of ACEi users (P < .001) and of persons who used other antihypertensive drugs (P = .005) but not of antihypertensive nonusers (P = .91). The percentage of ACEi users deriving clinically significant benefit from exercise training for walking speed (30%) and SPPB score (48%) was dramatically higher than for nonusers (14% and 12%, respectively).
For older adults at risk for disability, exercise-derived improvements in physical function were greater for ACEi users than users of other antihypertensive drugs and antihypertensive nonusers.
aging; exercise; physical function; LIFE Study; ACE inhibitors
Timing of assessment of psychological construct is controversial and results differ based on the model of pain induction. Previous studies have not used an exercise induced injury model to investigate timing of psychological assessment. Exercise induced injury models may be appropriate for these investigations because they approximate clinical pain conditions better than other experimental stimuli. In this study we examined the changes of psychological constructs over time and determined whether timing of assessment affected the construct’s association with reports of pain intensity and disability. One-hundred twenty-six healthy volunteers completed the Fear of Pain Questionnaire (FPQ-III), Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), and Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia (TSK) prior to inducing muscle injury to the shoulder. The PCS and TSK were measured again 48 and 96 hours post-injury induction. Pain intensity and disability were collected at 48 and 96 hours and served as dependent variables in separate regression models. Results indicated that the FPQ-III had the strongest prediction of pain intensity from baseline to 96 hours. After baseline the PCS and TSK were stronger predictors of pain intensity and disability, respectively. These data provide support for the use of psychological constructs in predicting outcomes from shoulder pain. However, they deviate from the current theoretical model indicating that fear of pain is a consequence of injury and instead suggests that fear of pain before injury may influence reports of pain intensity.
The current study provides evidence that fear of pain can be assessed prior to injury. Furthermore, it supports that after injury pain catastrophizing and kinesiophobia are independently associated with pain and disability. Overall these data suggest that timing of psychological assessment may be an important consideration in clinical environments.
Fear; catastrophizing; assessment; pain; disability
In this study, the authors aimed to determine whether higher activity energy expenditure, assessed by using doubly labeled water, was associated with a reduced decline in mobility limitation among 248 older community-dwelling US adults aged 70–82 years enrolled in 1998–1999. Activity energy expenditure was calculated as total energy expenditure (assessed over 2 weeks by using doubly labeled water) minus resting metabolic rate (measured with indirect calorimetry), with adjustment for the thermic effect of food. Across sex-specific tertiles of activity energy expenditure, men in the lowest activity group experienced twice the rate of mobility limitation as men in the highest activity group (41% (n = 18) vs. 18% (n = 8)). Conversely, women in the lowest and highest activity groups exhibited similarly high rates of mobility limitation (40% (n = 16) vs. 38% (n = 15)). After adjustment for potential confounders, men with higher activity energy expenditure levels continued to show reduced risk of mobility limitation (per standard deviation (284 kcal/day): hazard ratio = 0.61, 95% confidence interval: 0.41, 0.92). Women showed no association (per standard deviation (226 kcal/day): hazard ratio = 1.34, 95% confidence interval: 0.98, 1.85). Greater energy expenditure from any and all physical activity was significantly associated with reduced risk of developing mobility limitation among men, but not among women.
aging; disability evaluation; energy metabolism; exercise; mobility limitation; motor activity; sex
To examine the association between the use of compensatory strategies to successfully complete common daily activities — an indicator of pre-clinical disability— and body mass in pre-clinically disabled older adults.
Cross-sectional observational study.
Two-hundred and fifty-nine pre-clinically disabled older adults defined as having changed the frequency or manner of performing daily tasks without reporting any difficulty.
The use of compensatory strategies were objectively evaluated using the MOD scale — a reliable and valid scale for assessing the manner in which common daily activities were completed. Height and weight were measured to classify participants into the following body mass index (BMI) categories: 1) normal: 18.5–24.9kg/m2, 2) overweight: 25.0–29.9kg/m2, 3) obese class I: 30.0–34.9kg/m2, and 4) obese class II: 35.0–39.9kg/m2.
Compared to other BMI categories, individuals with class II obesity demonstrated a significantly higher probability of using ≥ 1 compensatory strategies when rising from a chair (30cm height), kneel to stand, stair ascent, stair descent, and supine to stand tasks. When summarized over all tasks, individuals with class II obesity were 18 times more likely to use extensive compensatory strategies (≥ 6 on MOD scale) compared to normal weight older adults. Similar trends at a lesser magnitude were found in obese and overweight compared to normal weight older adults.
Obesity is associated with extensive use of compensatory strategies when performing common daily tasks prior to the onset of perceived difficulty, thus placing them at higher risk of disability compared to their peers with lower body mass.
Body mass; Functional task modification; Disablement; preclinical disability; obesity; compensatory strategies
The lower extremities are important to performing physical activities of daily life. This study investigated lower extremity tissue composition, i.e. muscle and fat volumes, in young and older adults and the relative importance of individual tissue compartments to the physical function of older adults. A total of 43 older (age 78.3 ± 5.6 yr) and 20 younger (age 23.8 ± 3.9 yr) healthy men and women participated in the study. Older participants were further classified as either high- (HF) or low-functioning (LF) according to the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). Magnetic resonance images were used to determine the volumes of skeletal muscle, subcutaneous fat (SAT), and intermuscular fat (IMAT) in the thigh (femoral) and calf (tibiofibular) regions. After adjusting for the sex of participants, younger participants had more femoral muscle mass than older adults (p < 0.001 for between group differences) as well as less femoral IMAT (p = 0.008) and tibiofibular IMAT (p < 0.001). Femoral muscle was the only tissue compartment demonstrating a significant difference between the two older groups, with HF participants having 31% more femoral muscle mass than LF participants (mean difference = 103.0 ± 34.0 cm3; p = 0.011). In subsequent multiple regression models including tissue compartments and demographic confounders, femoral muscle was the primary compartment associated with both SPPB score (r2 = 0.264, p= 0.001) and 4-meter gait speed (r2 = 0.187, p= 0.007). These data suggest that aging affects all lower extremity compartments, but femoral muscle mass is the major compartment associated with physical function in older adults.
Aging; Sarcopenia; Older Adults; Disability; SPPB; IMAT
Reduced gait speed is associated with falls, late-life disability, hospitalization/institutionalization and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Aging is also accompanied by a widening of pulse pressure (PP) that contributes to ventricular-vascular uncoupling. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that PP is associated with long-distance gait speed in community-dwelling older adults in the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Pilot (LIFE-P) study.
Brachial blood pressure and 400-meter gait speed (average speed maintained over a 400-meter walk at “usual” pace) were assessed in 424 older adults between the ages of 70–89 yrs at risk for mobility disability (mean age = 77 yrs; 31% male). PP was calculated as systolic blood pressure (BP) – diastolic BP.
Patients with a history of heart failure and stroke (n = 42) were excluded leaving 382 participants for final analysis. When categorized into tertiles of PP, participants within the highest PP tertile had significantly slower gait speed than those within the lowest PP tertile (p<0.05). Following stepwise multiple regression, PP was significantly and inversely associated with 400-meter gait speed (p<0.05). Other significant predictors of gait speed included: handgrip strength, body weight, age and history of diabetes mellitus (p<0.05). Mean arterial pressure, systolic BP and diastolic BP were not predictors of gait speed.
Pulse pressure is associated long-distance gait speed in community-dwelling older adults. Vascular senescence and altered ventricular-vascular coupling may be associated with the deterioration of mobility and physical function in older adults.
Objective methods to measure daily energy expenditure in studies of aging are needed. We sought to determine the accuracy of total energy expenditure (TEE) and activity energy expenditure (AEE) estimates from the SenseWear Pro armband (SWA) using software versions 6.1 (SWA 6.1) and 5.1 (SWA 5.1) relative to criterion methods in free-living older adults.
Participants (n = 19, mean age 82.0 years) wore a SWA for a mean ± SD 12.5 ± 1.1 days, including while sleeping. During this same period, criterion values for TEE were assessed with doubly labeled water and for resting metabolic rate (RMR) with indirect calorimetry. AEE was calculated as 0.9 TEE – RMR.
For TEE, there was no difference in mean ± SD values from doubly labeled water (2,040 ± 472 kcal/day) versus SWA 6.1 (2,012 ± 497 kcal/day, p = .593) or SWA 5.1 (2,066 ± 474 kcal/day, p = .606); individual values were highly correlated between methods (SWA 6.1 r = .893, p < .001; SWA 5.1 r = .901, p < .001) and demonstrated strong agreement (SWA 6.1 intraclass correlation coefficient = .896; SWA 5.1 intraclass correlation coefficient = .904). For AEE, mean values from SWA 6.1 (427 ± 304 kcal/day) were lower by 26.8% than criterion values (583 ± 242 kcal/day, p = .003), and mean values from SWA 5.1 (475 ± 299 kcal/day) were lower by 18.5% than criterion values (p = .021); however, individual values were highly correlated between methods (SWA 6.1 r = .760, p < .001; SWA 5.1 r = .786, p < .001) and demonstrated moderate agreement (SWA 6.1 intraclass correlation coefficient = .645; SWA 5.1 intraclass correlation coefficient = .720). Bland–Altman plots identified no systematic bias for TEE or AEE.
Acceptable levels of agreement were observed between SWA and criterion measurements of TEE and AEE in older adults.
Accelerometer; Activity monitor; Physical activity; Aged; DLW
Obese older adults are particularly susceptible to sarcopenia and have a higher prevalence of disability than their peers of normal weight. Interventions to improve body composition in late life are crucial to maintaining independence. The main mechanisms underlying sarcopenia have not been determined conclusively, but chronic inflammation, apoptosis, and impaired mitochondrial function are believed to play important roles. It has yet to be determined whether impaired cellular quality control mechanisms contribute to this process. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of a 6-month weight loss program combined with moderate-intensity exercise on the cellular quality control mechanisms autophagy and ubiquitin-proteasome, as well as on inflammation, apoptosis, and mitochondrial function, in the skeletal muscle of older obese women. The intervention resulted in significant weight loss (8.0 ± 3.9 % vs. 0.4 ± 3.1% of baseline weight, p = 0.002) and improvements in walking speed (reduced time to walk 400 meters, − 20.4 ± 16% vs. − 2.5 ± 12%, p = 0.03). In the intervention group, we observed a three-fold increase in messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of the autophagy regulators LC3B, Atg7, and lysosome-associated membrane protein-2 (LAMP-2) compared to controls. Changes in mRNA levels of FoxO3A and its targets MuRF1, MAFBx, and BNIP3 were on average seven-fold higher in the intervention group compared to controls, but these differences were not statistically significant. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) mRNA levels were elevated after the intervention, but we did not detect significant changes in the downstream apoptosis markers caspase 8 and 3. Mitochondrial biogenesis markers (PGC1α and TFAm) were increased by the intervention, but this was not accompanied by significant changes in mitochondrial complex content and activity. In conclusion, although exploratory in nature, this study is among the first to report the stimulation of cellular quality control mechanisms elicited by a weight loss and exercise program in older obese women.
Preclinical studies strongly suggest that accelerated apoptosis in skeletal myocytes may be involved in the pathogenesis of sarcopenia. However, evidence in humans is sparse. In the present study, we investigated whether apoptotic signaling in the skeletal muscle was associated with indices of muscle mass and function in older persons.
Community-dwelling older adults were categorized into high-functioning (HF) or low-functioning (LF) groups according to their short physical performance battery (SPPB) summary score. Participants underwent an isokinetic knee extensor strength test and 3-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging of the thigh. Vastus lateralis muscle samples were obtained by percutaneous needle biopsy and assayed for the expression of a set of apoptotic signaling proteins. Age, sex, number of comorbid conditions and medications as well as knee extensor strength were not different between groups. HF participants displayed greater thigh muscle volume compared with LF persons. Multivariate partial least squares (PLS) regressions showed significant correlations between caspase-dependent apoptotic signaling proteins and the muscular percentage of thigh volume (R2 = 0.78; Q2 = 0.61) as well as gait speed (R2 = 0.81; Q2 = 0.56). Significant variables in the PLS model of percent muscle volume were active caspase-8, cleaved caspase-3, cytosolic cytochrome c and mitochondrial Bak. The regression model of gait speed was mainly described by cleaved caspase-3 and mitochondrial Bax and Bak. PLS predictive apoptotic variables did not differ between functional groups. No correlation was determined between apoptotic signaling proteins and muscle strength or quality (strength per unit volume).
Data from this exploratory study show for the first time that apoptotic signaling is correlated with indices of muscle mass and function in a cohort of community-dwelling older persons. Future larger-scale studies are needed to corroborate these preliminary findings and determine if down-regulation of apoptotic signaling in skeletal myocytes will provide improvements in the muscle mass and functional status of older persons.
A primary focus of longevity research is to identify prognostic risk factors that can be mediated by early treatment efforts. To date, much of this work has focused on understanding the biological processes that may contribute to aging process and age-related disease conditions. Although such processes are undoubtedly important, no current biological intervention aimed at increasing health and lifespan exists. Interestingly, a close relationship between mobility performance and the aging process has been documented in older adults. For example, recent studies have identified functional status, as assessed by walking speed, as a strong predictor of major health outcomes, including mortality, in older adults. This paper aims to describe the relationship between the comorbidities related to decreased health and lifespan and mobility function in obese, older adults. Concurrently, lifestyle interventions, including diet and exercise, are described as a means to improve mobility function and thereby limit the functional limitations associated with increased mortality.
To determine if participation in usual moderate-intensity or more vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is associated with physical function performance and to identify socio-demographic, psychosocial and disease-related covariates that may also compromise physical function performance.
Cross-sectional analysis of baseline variables of randomized controlled intervention trial.
Four separate academic research centers.
Four hundred twenty-four older adults aged 70–89 years at risk for mobility-disability (scoring <10 on the Short Physical Performance Battery, SPPB) and able to complete the 400 m walk test within 15 minutes.
Minutes of MVPA (dichotomized according to above or below 150 min•wk−1 of MVPA) assessed by the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS) questionnaire, SPPB score, 400 M walk test, gender, body mass index (BMI), depressive symptoms, age and number of medications.
The SPPB summary score was associated with minutes of MVPA (ρ = 0.16, P = 0.001). In multiple regression analyses, age, minutes of MVPA, number of medications and depressive symptoms were associated with performance on the composite SPPB (P < 0.05). There was an association between 400 m walk time and minutes of MVPA (ρ = −0.18; P = 0.0002). In multiple regression analyses, age, gender, minutes of MVPA, BMI and number of medications were associated with performance on the 400 m walk test (P < 0.05).
Minutes of MVPA, gender, BMI, depressive symptoms, age, and number of medications are associated with physical function performance and all should be taken into consideration in the prevention of mobility-disability.
older adults; mobility-disability; physical function performance; older adults; mobility-disability; physical function performance
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with physical impairments and biologic changes in older adults. Weight loss combined with exercise may reduce inflammation and improve physical functioning in overweight, sedentary, older adults. This study tested whether a weight loss program combined with moderate exercise could improve physical function in obese, older adult women.
Participants (N = 34) were generally healthy, obese, older adult women (age range 55–79 years) with mild to moderate physical impairments (ie, functional limitations). Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups for 24 weeks: (i) weight loss plus exercise (WL+E; n = 17; mean age = 63.7 years [4.5]) or (ii) educational control (n = 17; mean age = 63.7 [6.7]). In the WL+E group, participants attended a group-based weight management session plus three supervised exercise sessions within their community each week. During exercise sessions, participants engaged in brisk walking and lower-body resistance training of moderate intensity. Participants in the educational control group attended monthly health education lectures on topics relevant to older adults. Outcomes were: (i) body weight, (ii) walking speed (assessed by 400-meter walk test), (iii) the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and (iv) knee extension isokinetic strength.
Participants randomized to the WL+E group lost significantly more weight than participants in the educational control group (5.95 [0.992] vs 0.23 [0.99] kg; P < 0.01). Additionally, the walking speed of participants in the WL+E group significantly increased compared with that of the control group (reduction in time on the 400-meter walk test = 44 seconds; P < 0.05). Scores on the SPPB improved in both the intervention and educational control groups from pre- to post-test (P < 0.05), with significant differences between groups (P = 0.02). Knee extension strength was maintained in both groups.
Our findings suggest that a lifestyle-based weight loss program consisting of moderate caloric restriction plus moderate exercise can produce significant weight loss and improve physical function while maintaining muscle strength in obese, older adult women with mild to moderate physical impairments.
obesity; weight loss; physical function; oxidative stress; inflammation; walking speed
Purpose of review
The economic burden due to the sequela of sarcopenia (muscle wasting in the elderly) are staggering and rank similarly to the costs associated with osteoporotic fractures. In this article we discuss the societal burden and determinants of the loss of physical function with advancing age, the physiologic mechanisms underlying dynapenia (muscle weakness in the elderly), and provide perspectives on related critical issues to be addressed.
Recent epidemiological findings from longitudinal aging studies suggest that dynapenia is highly associated with both mortality and physical disability even when adjusting for sarcopenia, indicating that sarcopenia may be secondary to the effects of dynapenia. These findings are consistent with the physiologic underpinnings of muscle strength, as recent evidence demonstrates that alterations in muscle quantity, contractile quality and neural activation all collectively contribute to dynapenia.
While muscle mass is essential for regulation of whole body metabolic balance, overall neuromuscular function seems to be a critical factor for maintaining muscle strength and physical independence in the elderly. The relative contribution of physiologic factors contributing to muscle weakness are not fully understood, and further research is needed to better elucidate these mechanisms between muscle groups and across populations.
Aging; atrophy; cachexia; muscle wasting; weakness
Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) is a critical signaling molecule of disuse-induced skeletal muscle atrophy. However, few studies have carefully investigated whether similar pathways are modulated with physical activity and age.
The present study examined lean mass, maximal force production, and skeletal muscle NF-κB signaling in 41 men categorized as sedentary (OS, N = 13, 63.85 ± 6.59 year), physically active (OA, N = 14, 60.71 ± 5.54 year), or young and sedentary (YS, N = 14, 21.35 ± 3.84 year). Muscle tissue from the vastus lateralis was assayed for messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of the β subunit of IkB kinase (IKKβ), cytosolic protein content of phosphorylated inhibitor of kappa B alpha (pIKBα), and nuclear content of NF-κB subunits p50 and p65.
When compared with YS, OS demonstrated age-related muscle atrophy and reduced isokinetic knee extension torque. Physical activity in older individuals preserved maximal isokinetic knee extension torque. OS muscle contained 50% more pIKBα than OA and 61% more pIKBα than YS. Furthermore, nuclear p65 was significantly elevated in OS compared with YS. OS muscle did not differ from either of the other two groups for nuclear p50 or for mRNA expression of IKKβ.
These results indicate that skeletal muscle content of nuclear-bound p65 is elevated by age in humans. The elevation in nuclear-bound p65 appears to be at least partially due to significant increases in pIKBα. A sedentary lifestyle appears to play some role in increased IKBα; however, further research is needed to identify downstream effects of this increase.
Sarcopenia; Atrophy; Strength; Proteolysis
The study of energy expenditure (EE) has deep roots in understanding aging and lifespan in all species. In humans, total EE decreases substantially in advanced age resulting from parallel changes in resting metabolic rate (RMR) and activity EE. For RMR, this reduction appears to be due to a reduction in organ mass and specific metabolic rates of individual tissues. However, these anatomical changes explain very little regarding the decline in activity EE, which is governed by both genetic and environmental sources. The biological control centers for activity EE are closely coupled with body mass fluctuations and seem to originate in the brain. Several candidate neuromodulators may be involved in the age-related reduction of activity EE that include: orexin, agouti-related proteins and dopaminergic pathways. Unfortunately, the existing body of research has primarily focused on how neuromodulators influence weight gain and only a few studies have been performed in aging models. Recent evidence suggests that activity EE has an important role in dictating lifespan and thus places emphasis on future research to uncover the underlying biological mechanisms. The study of EE continues to unlock clues to aging.