Comparisons of Muscle Quality and Muscle Growth Factor Between Sarcopenic and Non-Sarcopenic Older Women

Myong Won Seo, Sung-Woo Jung, Sung Woo Kim, Hyun Chul Jung, Deog-Yoon Kim, Jong Kook Song

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10 Scopus citations


Sarcopenia, an age-related disease, is one of the important health problems in the elderly and the prevalence of sarcopenia is rapidly increased among the Korean population. This study examined the muscle quality and muscle growth factors of elderly women to identify the potential diagnostic tool for sarcopenia. One hundred and thirty-six elderly women, aged over 65 years old, initially enrolled, but only 59 participants who met the criteria (sarcopenic group, n = 27; non-sarcopenic group, n = 32) completed the study. Muscle quality assessment included thigh cross-sectional computed tomography scan and maximal isometric muscle strength. Muscle growth factors such as GDF-15, myostatin, activin A, and follistatin were analyzed, and a battery of Senior Fitness Test was used to examine functional fitness. The statistical significance level was set at 0.05. Elderly women with sarcopenia had a lower thigh muscle volume (−20.1%), and a higher thigh intermuscular adipose tissue (15.8%) than those of the non-sarcopenic group (p < 0.05). However, no significant differences in muscle growth factors were observed between the groups. Muscle quality variables including maximal voluntary isometric contraction (OR: 0.968, p < 0.001), relative maximal voluntary isometric contraction (OR: 0.989, p < 0.05), thigh muscle volume (OR: 0.836, p < 0.001), and thigh intermuscular adipose tissue (OR: 1.138, p < 0.05) were associated with a risk of sarcopenia. Our findings suggest that the sarcopenic group exhibits a poor thigh muscle quality in comparison with the non-sarcopenic group. Muscle quality assessment can be utilized for sarcopenia identification, but our study remains inconclusive for the causality of muscle growth factors in sarcopenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6581
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • sarcopenia
  • muscle growth regulators
  • muscle quality
  • functional performance


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